The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDR) is observed on the third Sunday of November each year by an increasing number of countries on every continent around the world.

This day is dedicated to remembering the many millions killed or injured in road crashes and their families and communities, as well as to pay tribute to the dedicated emergency crews, police and medical professionals who daily deal with the traumatic aftermath of road death and injury.

Theme for 2014

From Global Remembrance to Global Action across the Decade

Speed kills – design out speeding

Let’s make 2011-2020 a Decade to remember!

This theme relates to the call in Pillar 3 of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Safer Vehiclesfor vehicles with improved vehicle safety & crash avoidance technologies and with high levels of occupant & vulnerable road user protection; for consumer information about safety performance of motor vehicles and minimum crash test standards, among others.

Excessive speed is a key contributory cause of road deaths and injuries, hence technologies that design out speeding would potentially provide the safest vehicles - both to people outside and occupants. 

Why is the World Day so important?


  • it draws attention to the devastation caused and calls for government action
  • this day creates a link between road victims throughout the world
  • lack of information about this catastrophe provokes social indifference
  • the number of people killed and injured on the road represents the largest human-made disaster
  • modern societies tolerate enormous numbers of victims of wholly preventable technical risks
  • we remember lost lives and evoke the names of real people, who deserved to be alive today, to have fulfilled their dreams

Why is there a need for this day?

Road deaths and injuries are sudden, violent, traumatic events, the impact of which is long-lasting, often permanent. Each year, millions of newly injured and bereaved people from every corner of the world are added to the countless millions already suffering as the result of a road crash.


The burden of grief and distress experienced by this huge number of people is all the greater because many of the victims are young, because many of the crashes could and should have been prevented and because the response to road death and injury and to victims and families is often inadequate, unsympathetic, and inappropriate to the loss of life or quality of life.


The Day has become an important tool in global efforts to reduce road casualties. It offers an opportunity for drawing attention to the scale of emotional and economic devastation caused by road crashes and for giving recognition to the suffering of road crash victims and the work of support and rescue services.


Since the adoption of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 60/5, the observance has spread to a growing number of countries on every continent.


A dedicated website was also launched to make the Day more widely known and to link countries through sharing common objectives and the remembrance of people killed and injured in crashes.


UN Secretary-General's message for 2013

On this World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, we call attention to the fact that every year, crashes take the lives of almost 1.24 million people and injure as many as 50 million more, leaving some with permanent disability.

Behind these statistics are grieving parents, children, siblings, colleagues and friends. Their struggle is not only emotional; traffic accidents often take a severe financial toll, with many families reduced to poverty through either the loss of a breadwinner or the costs associated with lost income and prolonged medical care.

I applaud the fact that governments have agreed to a Decade of Action for Road Safety, 2011-2020, with the target of saving 5 million lives. I welcome action by cities around the world to improve the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and all other road users. Sidewalks, crosswalks, overpasses and roadway lighting are being installed; laws on drunk driving, speeding, wearing seatbelts and prohibiting texting and other dangerous use of mobile phones while driving are being enacted and enforced; pedestrian zones are being created in city centres; and emergency trauma care is being enhanced to ensure the prompt treatment of those with life-threatening injuries.

As the international community works to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, I call for more concerted action on road safety as part of the future development agenda. This will be a vital component of efforts to improve health and save lives in the years ahead.  

On this World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, let us work to make more roads safe for all who use them. Together, we can save millions of lives.

Ban Ki-moon
17 November 2013

Source: The United Nations


Last updated on: 2014-11-03 | Link to this post