Over the last fifteen years, road safety has emerged as a significant global public policy issue. In 2004, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Bank published the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention which warned that road traffic injuries “constitute a major public health and development crisis”. In the same year the United Nations General Assembly invited WHO to act as the UN’s coordinator on road safety issues working in close cooperation with the UN regional commissions. The WHO subsequently set up the UN Road Safety Collaboration (UNRSC) to serve as an informal consultative body bringing together leading road safety stakeholders.
Then in 2006, the independent Commission for Global Road Safety was formed under the chairmanship of Lord Robertson of Port Ellen to encourage stronger worldwide political support for road injury prevention. The Commission published the report ‘Make Roads Safe: A New Priority for Sustainable Development’ which called for a global ministerial conference on road safety and also proposed a ten year action plan to reverse the rising tide of road injuries. The UN General Assembly subsequently proclaimed the Decade of Action for Road Safety in a resolution adopted April 2010. The Decade was then launched on 11 May 2011 with the goal to “stabilize and then reduce” the level of road traffic fatalities by 2020.
To support the Decade of Action for Road Safety, a Global Plan has been developed by the UN Road Safety Collaboration which promotes an integrated framework of recommended actions across five key policy pillars areas as follows five pillars for road safety:
Both the UN General Assembly and the 2nd Global High Level Conference on Road Safety have supported the implementation of the Global Plan. On 25 September 2015 all 193 Member States of the UN adopted the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. They build on the 2000-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and establish a set of “universally applicable” goals and targets for “people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership”. There are 17 Global Goals supported by 169 targets, which are to be implemented from 1 January 2016 over the next fifteen years until 2030. The UN envisages a strong role for legislators in implementing the Global Goals with parliaments encouraged to enact laws, adopt budgets, and ensure accountability (See paragraph 45: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld).Road safety is included in the Global Goals for both health and cities. This represents long overdue recognition of road injury prevention as a key contributor to policies promoting public health, urban and sustainable development.
Walking will be crucial for and supported by the proposed SDGs as identified below:
SDG 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
These targets in particular:
SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
These targets in particular:
SDG 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
These targets in particular:
Global Road Safety Situation Each year about 1.35 million people are killed in road traffic crashes and around 50 million are injured around the world with approximately 20 million becoming permanently disabled. Most of those killed are young, road traffic injuries are now the leading killer of children and young people aged 5-29 years. This means that the most affected currently are children. More than half of all road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users; pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. In addition, Road traffic injuries are currently the eight leading causes of death for all age groups 54% of deaths are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
There is an average of 3,400 preventable deaths a day and a further 20 to 50 million people are injured. Vulnerable road users make up to 54% of those killed in road traffic crashes (28% motorcyclists, 23% pedestrians and 3% cyclists). These fatalities are projected to increase to almost two million by 2020 with the rise in global economic development and accompanying motorization, unless substantial efforts are made to improve road safety and deliver sustainable transport choices. With more than 700 million cars on the roads today globally and a projected increase to two billion by 2030, it is certain that motorization level will increase at a high speed all over the world. Consequently, traffic will increase, and driving conditions will become more complex. If we have any hope of having an excellent road safety situation today, there is every reason to be worried for our future due to the growth in traffic.
The impact and human suffering of such sudden, violent and traumatic events caused by road crashes is the cumulative toll of long-lasting, often permanent suffering. The emotional and psychological pain endured, losing a family member or their injury or disability can put significant financial strain on a family. In many countries, families are frequently driven into poverty by the cost of prolonged medical care, the loss of a family breadwinner, or the extra funds needed to care for people with disabilities apart from the huge medical bills. Road crashes are indeed very wasteful in terms of monetary, environmental, economic, health, social and human aspects.
Africa Region African region has the highest estimated road traffic fatality rate at 26.6 per 100,000 population. This is despite having the lowest level of motorization in the world at 46.6 vehicles per 1,000 people compared to 510.3 vehicles per 1000 people in Europe. Half of all road traffic deaths in the region occur among vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists) with the highest proportion of deaths among pedestrians at 39% (WHO, 2015). Road traffic injuries are estimated to cost low and middle-income countries 1-2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP), majority of African countries fall in this category. Economically, disadvantaged families are hardest hit by both direct medical costs and indirect costs such as low wages that result from these injuries.
Road Safety situation in Kenya Road Traffic Injuries (RTI) are a leading cause of death, hospitalization, disability and socioeconomic loss in Kenya. Deaths are only the tip of the iceberg as hospitalizations are 30–50 times more. A majority of those killed and injured are pedestrians, two-wheeler riders and pillion riders as well as cyclists. In Kenya, over 3,000 people are killed every year. More than twice as many are permanently disabled by their injuries. Statistics show that over the past 10 years, on average over 17,000 people were left injured after road crashes every year, with half of those being serious injuries that led to permanent disability. This state of affairs leaves behind shattered families and communities, worsening the state of affairs of the units. Beyond human suffering, road traffic deaths and injuries impose significant economic and financial losses to individuals and societies. Financial losses to individuals and families are not mitigated by adequate insurance coverage in Kenya, thus leaving many with very high health care bills. This hits vulnerable households particularly hard.
The economic cost of road crashes in Kenya is estimated to be 3.5% of the GDP per year. Road traffic injuries are estimated to create a 300 billion Kenya shillings burden on the Kenyan economy annually. Road deaths and serious injuries are not just unfortunate accidents. They are predictable, preventable, and unacceptable. Evidence shows that setting a road safety target is an effective way to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured in traffic crashes’ working in Partnership with Global Alliance of NGOs for road safety, National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) County and other Local authorities, emergency services, NGOs, Humanitarian Aids, public and private sector from across the 47 counties. Our aim is to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured in collisions on our roads through educating people about road safety, enforcing road traffic laws and environmentally friendly.
We urge Road safety to be given appropriate consideration in infrastructure development, and appropriate facilities for pedestrians and other vulnerable road users to be introduced or improved including safe journey to school for all children. To ensure basic safety conditions of the infrastructure, and carry out safety audits for the most traveled portions of the network throughout planning, designing, construction and operation stages and conduct corrective upgrade programs so that mitigation measures become part of day to day network management.
As part of our efforts to encourage partners to adopt a Safe System approach to ensure the transport system is designed, as far as possible, to protect people from death and serious injury we will: