Ten years on: Make Roads Safe, redux

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FIA Foundation Chairman Lord Robertson: vehicle and highway safety design, and speed management to protect pedestrians and cyclists, are our priorities.
FIA Foundation Chairman Lord Robertson: vehicle and highway safety design, and speed management to protect pedestrians and cyclists, are our priorities.
In 2007 the Make Roads Safe petition campaign was launched with support from leading figures including Michael Schumacher (above) and Desmond Tutu (below).
In 2007 the Make Roads Safe petition campaign was launched with support from leading figures including Michael Schumacher (above) and Desmond Tutu (below).
In 2017 global road safety campaign priorities include a call for increased funding for road safety. UNECE’s Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach (above) and the FIA’s High Level Panel for Road Safety (below) are pushing for a UN Road Safety Fund, with FIA Foundation funding and advocacy support.
In 2017 global road safety campaign priorities include a call for increased funding for road safety. UNECE’s Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach (above) and the FIA’s High Level Panel for Road Safety (below) are pushing for a UN Road Safety Fund, with FIA Foundation funding and advocacy support.
Child rights are at the heart of the Foundation’s road safety advocacy approach. With the support of committed activists like Zoleka Mandela we are taking forward the legacy of the Make Roads Safe campaign.
Child rights are at the heart of the Foundation’s road safety advocacy approach. With the support of committed activists like Zoleka Mandela we are taking forward the legacy of the Make Roads Safe campaign.

Road traffic crashes still claim more than 1.2 million lives every year, and political commitment and financial resourcing for road safety is failing to match the scale of the epidemic. Urgent action, including the establishment of a properly resourced UN Fund to catalyse regional and country level injury reduction strategies, is needed now more than ever.

This is the message of a new campaign pamphlet published by the FIA Foundation to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the 2007 launch of the Make Roads Safe petition, the first ever global road safety campaign, which gained more than a million signatures – and many political endorsements – in support of a successful call for a UN conference on road safety. The Make Roads Safe campaign, led by the FIA Foundation through the Commission for Global Road Safety, which we established, played a key role in bringing about the first global Ministerial conference on road safety, the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety and the inclusion of road safety targets in the Sustainable Development Goals. Yet, despite these achievements – and although, in part as a result of more concerted action, overall global road deaths haven’t increased at the rate anticipated back in the mid-2000s – road traffic injuries remain one of the top ten causes of death worldwide. Too many political leaders in those middle and low income countries where road traffic death rates are rising, and too many policy leaders in the international development community, still only pay lip service to the need for action.

Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, Chairman of the FIA Foundation, who as Chairman of the Commission for Global Road Safety led the Make Roads Safe campaign, said:

“There has been much progress in raising awareness of global road traffic injuries. Yet at least 1.2 million people are still dying on the world’s road each year. Tens of millions are injured. And every three minutes we still lose the life of yet another child. Despite this appalling and preventable carnage, action to improve road safety remains low on the international agenda, and is often an afterthought for national priorities. Funding for road traffic injury prevention is still negligible. Yet now, with ambitious road safety targets in the Sustainable Development Goals, concerted action is needed more than ever.”

The FIA Foundation identifies seven key priorities that must be addressed, and is supporting action for each through its grant programme and through advocacy initiatives:

  • Urgent infrastructure safety improvements for highest risk roads.
  • All cars in production meet minimum UN safety standards by 2020.
  • Prioritise pedestrians and cyclists in urban planning.
  • Every country must legislate & enforce seat belt and motorcycle helmet use.
  • Establish and properly resource a UN Road Safety Fund.
  • #SlowDown: < 30 km/h speed limits on school routes and residential streets.
  • By 2030, a safe and healthy journey to school for every child.

In 2017 important new global road safety initiatives will be launched, including a concerted drive for a new UN Road Safety Fund, led by UN-ECE and the UN Special Envoy for Road Safety; a major global advertising and awareness campaign, led by the FIA High Level Panel for Road Safety, involving famous figures from sport and the arts, to support the push for a Fund; and a new ‘Save Lives’ policy package, designed by the World Health Organization, to encourage governments to prioritise proven road safety measures. In addition, our new Global Initiative for Child Health & Mobility is leading advocacy to put child rights at the heart of road safety and transport planning policies. The ongoing Save Kids Lives campaign and a forthcoming #SlowDown campaign for the 2017 UN Global Road Safety Week are also engaging public and politicians alike. The FIA Foundation is playing a role in supporting all these efforts to increase momentum, political commitment and funding, and is working to connect these initiatives to the SDG reporting mechanisms that countries and the UN are establishing to measure progress towards the Global Goals.

Lord Robertson said: “Our campaign in 2007 generated great energy, with support from brilliant ambassadors like the great Michael Schumacher and powerful endorsers like Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and it resulted in a sea change in awareness for global road safety. Now, in 2017, we need another gear change in activism to take us to the next level and drive delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals road safety targets. By leading, supporting and actively participating in the new advocacy efforts being launched this year, the FIA Foundation is building on the legacy of our original Make Roads Safe campaign as part of a stronger and wider alliance. For the sake of the millions of people killed, disabled and injured each year, we must succeed”.

Read ‘Make Roads Safe: Action on Global Road Traffic Injuries’