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World Day of Remembrance 2016: paying tribute to victims

Every day 3,400 people lose their lives on the world’s roads and tens of thousands are injured, often severely. On 20 November, the road safety community paid tribute to victims and their families on the occasion of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims – an initiative launched by the European Federation of Road Traffic Victims (FEVR) and endorsed by the United Nations in 2005.

The theme of this year’s World Day of Remembrance was post-crash response, an area of particular importance to reduce the number of victims. In his message on the day, the United Nations Secretary General said: “It is 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”. He also stressed that estimates show that if emergency care systems for seriously injured patients in developing countries could be brought up to the levels of high-performing nations, an estimated 500,000 lives could be saved each year. 

The UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, Jean Todt, said: “Every fatality on the road is one too many. There is an urgent need to increase efforts to tackle this global health and development challenge if we are to meet the targets set as part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals”.

UNECE Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach recalled that over the past decades, under the auspices of UNECE, the United Nations has developed numerous conventions and agreements governing a variety of road safety areas, such as traffic rules, the standardization of road signs and signals as well as vehicle standards. He stressed that UNECE and its partners stand ready to help countries to accede to and implement these instruments, which are available to all UN Member States to help them design national road safety strategies.

Road safety will feature prominently at the first Global Sustainable Transport Conference in Ashgabat, on 26-27 November 2016. UNECE and the Special Envoy will call for accrued efforts from Member States and all constituencies in addressing the road safety crisis and will advocate for the establishment of a UN Road Safety Fund.