The automobile industry should play a leading role in promoting the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety with an ‘opt out’ consumers’ contribution added to the sale price of each new car in order to fund road injury prevention programmes, according to a new report published today (12).
The Commission for Global Road Safety, which first proposed the forthcoming UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, is calling for a voluntary levy of $2 (USD) or equivalent, on every new car sold. Customers could choose not to contribute to the ‘Driving Safety Initiative’ but it is expected that the vast majority would be willing to pay a relatively small additional cost towards improving road safety.
The UN Decade of Action has been established to combat a growing global public health crisis of road fatalities and injuries. An estimated 1.3 million people each year are killed and 50 million more are injured on the roads. Children are amongst the most vulnerable, with 1000 young people killed every day. Last year one of those children was Zenani Mandela, whose death in a road crash on the eve of the Football World Cup shocked the world. Today her mother, Zoleka Mandela joins the Commission’s Make Roads Safe campaign in calls for action:
“Protecting our children must be a lasting legacy of this UN Decade of Action. We begin by recognising that road deaths are preventable. They are a consequence of human neglect and can be prevented by human action. Now is the time for that positive action. Every life we save will be a precious victory”, said Zoleka Mandela.
Make Roads Safe: Time for Action is an agenda setting report published one month before the global launch of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. It sets out a series of recommendations to meet the UN goal to ‘stabilise and reduce’ global road fatalities by 2020. These include: a new emphasis on children’s rights to protection from road injury; ensuring road safety features are integrated into road projects; and a strengthening of international leadership of road safety.
The opt-out levy proposed, modelled on similar voluntary arrangements to raise money for other public health epidemics, could raise up to $140 million a year for a sizeable fund to catalyse country level implementation of road safety programmes..
Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, Chairman of the Commission for Global Road Safety, said: “With the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety we have the opportunity to save millions of lives. It is up to all of us to make this happen, to make it our Decade of Action. Car manufacturers and dealers can play an important, visible and positive role in saving lives and preventing disability, and we encourage them to support our proposal for a safety levy. It is in all of our interests – for economic productivity, for the health of family, friends and colleagues, for the protection of our children – to make our roads safer. Now is the time for action.”
Recommendations for the UN Decade of Action include:
Safe mobility of children must be recognised as a basic human right. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child requires governments to protect children from injury and harm. However with road safety, most countries are failing in this duty of care. UNICEF, leading child rights NGOs and major public health philanthropies should rally to UNICEF’s own call to make injury prevention for children a ‘major international public health objective’.
Donor governments, development banks and major public health philanthropies must make road safety a priority. New safety procedures must be implemented on road projects in developing countries to deliver a reduction in casualties. Donors must redouble their efforts to invest in road safety.
The UN’s own organisational capacity in the transport sector is ill-equipped to counter the threat of rapidly increasing global traffic levels and road injuries. A new UN Road Transport Agency is needed with a strong road safety focus. This body would bind together the work of the WHO and other international agencies on road safety.
Next month, on 11 May, around the world a series of high profile UN Decade of Action launch events will take place in major cities. East to west, starting in New Zealand at the beginning of the day, and ending in Mexico high profile public events will take place. The focal point will be the new official symbol for the UN Decade, the yellow road safety Tag.
Notes to editors
-This is the third report from the Commission for Global Road Safety and its Make Roads Safe campaign. In earlier reports the Commission and Make Roads Safe advocated for greater action by the international community on road safety. In particular, they successfully proposed and led the call for both a first ever Global Governmental Conference on Road Safety and for a UN Decade of Action for Road Safety.
-The Commission is coordinated by the FIA Foundation, a UK registered charity working internationally to promote road safety and a major donor to innovative injury prevention programmes. It is partnering the World Health Organization in coordinating the launch of the UN Decade of Action. www.makeroadssafe.org
- Zoleka Mandela is participating and speaking at the Make Roads Safe report launch. Together with the Nelson Mandela Foundation the Mandela family are collaborating with the FIA Foundation in announcing the Zenani Mandela Scholarship for Road Safety, a Mandela Day initiative contributing to the UN Decade of Action. Further information www.nelsonmandela.org and www.fiafoundation.org
-Make Roads Safe: Time for Action is being launched at the Banqueting House, Whitehall Palace, London on Tuesday 12 April 2011 09.00-13.15.
-Embargoed copies of the report are available for download at: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/12341533/mrs_iii_report_lr.pdf
-VNR footage on the global road safety crisis is available on request and to download at: www.makeroadssafe.org
Contact: Avi Silverman email@example.com +44 7967229374