Today, like every day, more than 3,400 people will lose their lives on the world’s roads – many of them young men and women at the start of their adult lives. The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims is a time to reflect on this tragic loss of life.
It is also a time to scale up action to prevent these deaths, and the countless injuries. That means improving the quality and safety of roads and vehicles, preventing speeding and drunk driving, and vigorously promoting the use of seat-belts, motorcycle helmets and child car seats.
We must also focus on post-crash response, the theme of this year’s World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. We can save lives and reduce disability by providing timely emergency care, better medical treatment and psychological support, and early rehabilitation for the injured.
Today, too many countries fail to provide effective care for road traffic victims after a crash. Many also fail to investigate crashes thoroughly and provide fair settlements for the injured and bereaved.
Worldwide, there is great disparity in access to emergency care. Some 90 per cent of the world’s road fatalities occur in low and middle-income countries. It is estimated that if emergency care systems for seriously injured patients in these countries could be brought up to the levels of high-performing nations, an estimated 500,000 lives could be saved each year.
Better post-crash response is critical to achieving Sustainable Development Goal target 3.6 to reduce by 50 per cent by 2020 the number of people killed and injured in road traffic crashes. On this World Day of Remembrance, in honour of those killed and injured each year, let us take the necessary steps to make our roads safe for all.