UN agrees on road safety sub-targets to aid progress on 2020 sustainable development goals

  • November 25, 2017

United Nations member states have agreed on a comprehensive subset of global road safety targets to aid work towards the target agreed two years ago to halve deaths and serious injuries on the world’s roads by 2020.

Road traffic injuries are the tenth leading cause of death globally, responsible for around 1.3 million deaths each year and as many as 50 million injuries.

The UN General Assembly declared the years 2011-2020 as a Decade of Action for Road Safety. Member States also included two specific targets on road safety (SDG 3.6 and SDG 11.2) in the UN Sustainable Development Goals launched in 2015.  SDG target 3.6 seeks to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries by 50% by 2020 and SDG target 11.2 aims to provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport by 2030.

The new performance targets were agreed earlier this month in a forum managed by the World Health Organisation and are aligned with the five pillars of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020: road safety management, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, safer road users, and post-crash response. The performance targets are:

  • Target 1: By 2020, all countries establish a comprehensive multisectoral national road safety action plan with time-bound targets.
  • Target 2: By 2030, all countries accede to one or more of the core road safety-related UN legal instruments.
  • Target 3: By 2030, all new roads achieve technical standards for all road users that take into account road safety, or meet a three star rating or better.
  • Target 4: By 2030, more than 75% of travel on existing roads is on roads that meet technical standards for all road users that take into account road safety.
  • Target 5: By 2030, 100% of new (defined as produced, sold or imported) and used vehicles meet high quality safety standards, such as the recommended priority UN Regulations, Global Technical Regulations, or equivalent recognized national performance requirements.
  • Target 6: By 2030, halve the proportion of vehicles travelling over the posted speed limit and achieve a reduction in speed-related injuries and fatalities.
  • Target 7: By 2030, increase the proportion of motorcycle riders correctly using standard helmets to close to 100%.
  • Target 8: By 2030, increase the proportion of motor vehicle occupants using safety belts or standard child restraint systems to close to 100%.
  • Target 9: By 2030, halve the number of road traffic injuries and fatalities related to drivers using alcohol, and/or achieve a reduction in those related to other psychoactive substances.
  • Target 10: By 2030, all countries have national laws to restrict or prohibit the use of mobile phones while driving.
  • Target 11: By 2030, all countries to enact regulation for driving time and rest periods for professional drivers, and/or accede to international/regional regulation in this area.
  • Target 12: By 2030, all countries establish and achieve national targets in order to minimize the time interval between road traffic crash and the provision of first professional emergency care.

Countries that have managed to improve road safety have shown that doing so is aided by setting targets and reporting on progress towards those targets based on agreed indicators. Targets and associated indicators provide a means to monitor the extent of progress, and provide an opportunity to adjust the focus and scale of national road safety activities as needed in order to ensure that targets are met. In the coming months, WHO will work with Member States and other UN agencies to develop a set of indicators to facilitate measurement of the new targets.

ETSC says sub-targets or performance indicators would also be useful at the EU level and in EU member states to aid policymakers in monitoring progress and prioritising future action.  Currently the EU only has a target to reduce all road deaths, though a future target to reduce serious injuries has been agreed and plans for other key performance indicators are expected to be proposed for the period 2020-2030.