UN to back 2020 goal to halve road deaths and injuries worldwide

  • September 4, 2015

The United Nations will adopt its first formal target to cut road deaths and injuries when it adopts a far-reaching package of sustainable development goals (SDGs) at its general assembly later this month.

The ambitious global target to ‘halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents’ by 2020 will apply to all member states of the United Nations. The baseline year is 2010. The target falls under Goal 3 of the SDGs: ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’. The SDGs will replace the Millennium Development Goals agreed in 2000, which only applied to developing countries and did not include a road safety target.

The target is in line with that agreed by the European Union in 2010, however the UN will go further as it also includes serious injuries. ETSC has been calling for a serious injury target for Europe for several years. The Juncker commission recently postponed plans to come forward with such a target.

Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of ETSC commented:

“Later this month, the EU’s 28 member states will commit to play their part in cutting road deaths and serious injuries by half by 2020 worldwide. Their first job after that will be to agree a serious injuries target and measures for Europe, to show they really mean business (at home).

“Europe can also play a broader role in improving road safety worldwide. It’s time EU carmakers committed to only selling vehicles in developing countries that meet Global NCAP’s recommended minimum vehicle safety standards. And development aid channels can also be used to improve road safety, for example by ensuring that infrastructure safety standards are applied to all roads built with EU support or loans.”

Road traffic injuries remain a major public health problem and a leading cause of death, injury and disability. Nearly 1.3 million people die annually and between 20 million and 50 million more are injured as a result of road crashes. More than 90 per cent of these deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries, which have less than half of the world’s vehicles.