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Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020

The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 was officially proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in March 2010.[1] Its goal is to stabilize and reduce the forecast level of road traffic deaths around the world. It is estimated that 5 millions lives could be saved on the world's roads during the decade.[2]

According to the Global status report on road safety, road traffic crashes take the lives of nearly 1.3 million people every year, and injure 20–50 million more.[3] More than 90% of road traffic deaths and injuries occur in low-income and middle-income countries, which have only 48% of the world’s registered vehicles. If no action is taken, road traffic crashes are predicted to result in the deaths of around 1.9 million people annually by 2020.

Global activities related to the Decade are coordinated by the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration. Grover, a fictional character from the television show Sesame Street, was named a Global Ambassador by the WHO.



For many years road traffic crashes have been acknowledged by the United Nations as a considerable challenge to the achievement of health and development goals. In 2008, the Commission for Global Road Safety called for a global road safety decade.[4] This idea was formalized in the Declaration[5] which resulted from the First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety, hosted by the Government of the Russian Federation in November 2009.[6] The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in March 2010.

The United Nations resolution A/RES/64/255 sets the goal for the Decade "to stabilize and then reduce the forecast level of road traffic fatalities around the world by increasing activities conducted at the national, regional and global levels."[1] The resolution calls on all Member States to set road safety targets to be achieved during the Decade. While governments are expected to lead on the implementation of activities, the resolution specifically calls for a multi-sectoral approach that includes academia, the private sector, civil society, the media, victims and their families.

Global PlanEdit

The United Nations Road Safety Collaboration has developed a Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 as an overall framework for activities which may take place in the context of the Decade.[7] The categories or "pillars" of activities are: road safety management; safer roads and mobility; safer vehicles; safer road users; and post-crash response.[8] A private sector coalition that promotes road safety, Together for Safer Roads (TSR), aligns with these Pillars by developing programs for the private sector to improve road safety.[9]

Pillar 1

Global Plan focuses on the need to strengthen institutional capacity to further national road safety efforts. It includes activities such as putting into practice major United Nations road safety conventions; establishing a lead agency for road safety in the country involving partners from a range of sectors; developing a national road safety strategy; and setting realistic and long-term targets for related activities with sufficient funding for their implementation. It also calls for development of data systems to monitor and evaluate activities.

Pillar 2

Highlights the need to improve the safety of road networks for the benefit of all road users, especially the most vulnerable: pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. Activities include improving the safety-conscious planning, design, construction and operation of roads; making sure that roads are regularly assessed for safety; and encouraging relevant authorities to consider all forms of transport and types of safe infrastructure when they respond to the mobility needs of road users.

Pillar 3

Addresses the need for improved vehicle safety by encouraging harmonization of relevant global standards and mechanisms to accelerate the uptake of new technologies which impact on safety. It includes activities such as implementing new car assessment programmes so that consumers are aware of the safety performance of vehicles, and trying to ensure that all new motor vehicles are equipped with minimum safety features, such as seat belts. Other activities covered include promoting more widespread use of crash avoidance technologies with proven effectiveness, such as electronic stability control and anti-lock braking systems.

Pillar 4

Focuses on developing comprehensive programmes to improve road user behaviour. Activities include encouraging the development and adoption of model road safety legislation and sustained or increased enforcement of road safety laws and standards. These efforts are combined with public awareness and education to increase seat-belt and helmet wearing and to reduce drinking and driving, speeding and other risks. It also calls for activities to reduce work-related road traffic injuries and promotes the establishment of graduated driver licensing programmes for novice drivers.


The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020 was officially launched on 11 May 2011 in more than 100 countries, through hundreds of national and local events.[10][11] Governments, international agencies, civil society organizations and private companies marked the beginning of the Decade across the globe.

Using the Global Plan as a roadmap, many countries have developed or are in the process of developing their own national plans for the Decade. Some of these plans cover the full ten-year period, while a few address shorter time frames. They may reflect activities on all five pillars of the Global Plan, or focus on just one or two pillars.

On the occasion of the Decade launch, many countries revised existing or adopted new road safety legislation, among them Austria,[12] China,[13] France[14] and New Zealand.[15]

Several iconic landmarks were illuminated with the road safety "tag", which is the graphic symbol for the Decade.[16] Some of the best known of these include:


Many public figures offered their support to the goals of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020.

  • Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, said in a statement: "Now we need to move this campaign into high gear and steer our world to safer roads ahead. Together, we can save millions of lives."[20]

In many other countries heads of state put their weight behind the Decade by personally attending launch events (for example, in Croatia, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Mexico, Moldova, Slovenia, Sri Lanka[22] and others).[23]

Inspired by the United Nations’ actions, Together for Safer Roads (TSR) was launched, which included assembling an Expert Panel to make recommendations on the ways that the private sector can help, which published the Investing in Road Safety: A Global Imperative for the Private Sector White Paper. The White Paper shows that road collisions cost the global economy USD$518 billion per year, and comes with a price tag of up to 3 percent of a nation’s GDP.[24]

Road Safety FundEdit

The Road Safety Fund[25] was created to raise funds for activities which contribute to the implementation of the national plans for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020. The Fund raises financial contributions from corporations, the general public and other donors. Global and national corporate supporters are able to associate themselves officially with the Decade. The Fund supports a wide range of not-for-profit partners in developing countries including governments, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and others on the frontline in the fight against road traffic deaths and injuries.


  1. ^ a b United Nations, A/RES/64/255, Geneva, 2010.
  2. ^ WHO, Saving Millions of Lives, Geneva, 2011.
  3. ^ WHO,Global status report on road safety, 2009.
  4. ^ Commission for Global Road Safety Make Roads Safe report: A Decade of Action for Road Safety, 2009.
  5. ^ First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety: Time for Action Moscow Declaration, 19–20 November 2009.
  6. ^ "First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety". World Health Organization. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  7. ^ "Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020". World Health Organization. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  8. ^ British Medical Journal, Road safety plan aims to save five million lives in next 10 years, 9 May 2011.
  9. ^ Together for Safer Roads. "Investing in Road Safety: A Global Imperative for the Private Sector" (PDF). Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  10. ^ The Washington Post, WHO launches campaign to cut traffic fatalities, 12 May 2011.
  11. ^ The Economist, Fighting Road Kill, 12 May 2011.
  12. ^ "Austria introduces mandatory helmet for children -- CROW Fietsberaad". Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  13. ^ China Daily Europe, Tougher penalties for drivers who drink, 9 May 2011.
  14. ^ Ministère de l'intérieur, Comité interministériel de la sécurité routière, France, 11 May 2011.
  15. ^ Ministry of Transport Land Transport (Road Safety and other matters) Amendment Act 2011, New Zealand, 2011.
  16. ^ WHO, Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020: Global Launch, 2011.
  17. ^ La Nacion, Diez años para mejorar la seguridad vial global, 12 May 2011.
  18. ^ Globo, Cristo ganha iluminação amarela para alertar sobre vítimas de trânsito, 11 May 2011.
  19. ^ Tribune de Geneve, Lancement de la décennie pour la sécurité routière Archived 2012-07-13 at, 15 May 2011.
  20. ^ United Nations, Secretary-General's message on the launch of the Decade of Action for Road Safety, 11 May 2011.
  21. ^ "WHO - Russian President supports the Decade of Action for Road Safety". Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  22. ^ Colombo Page, Sri Lanka to pay immediate attention to road safety, 12 May 2011.
  23. ^ WHO,Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020: Global Launch, 2011.
  24. ^ "How the United Nations is Working to Make Roads Safer – TogetherForSaferRoads". Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  25. ^ "Road Safety Fund". Retrieved 8 August 2018.

External linksEdit