Why is the ‘World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims’ important?

  • Because lack of information about this catastrophe provokes social indifference…
  • To help draw attention to the devastation caused by road danger and bring an end to the carnage

Mr Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General,
sends a message on the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims 20 November 2011

Each day, nearly 3,500 people die on the roads. Tens of thousands more are injured. Families are broken apart. The futures of young people are dashed. Road accidents have become the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 29. This is an unacceptable price to pay for mobility.

The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, which began in May this year, has the goal of saving five million lives. A global plan for the decade provides a framework for governments, civil society and the private sector to work together to improve road management; upgrade the safety of roads and vehicles, and educate drivers, passengers and pedestrians on safe behaviour.

The plan focuses on the big risks, including speeding, drinking and driving, inattention while using mobile devices, and failing to use seat-belts, helmets and child restraints. It calls for better infrastructure and innovation. The global plan also encompasses care for victims, including their rescue, treatment and long-term rehabilitation. It calls for thorough crash investigations to prevent further deaths and injuries.

The United Nations itself must do its part to implement the plan. Earlier this month, a system-wide policy was introduced to promote road safety and the safe operation of UN vehicles.

Globally, vehicle ownership is forecast to double by 2020. Given this rapid expansion of vehicle use, especially in the world's emerging economies, capacity building for road safety is crucial.

On this World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, let us mobilize all possible contributions to improving road safety – from city planners to vehicle designers, from policy makers to road users. Let us honour those who have lost their lives on the world's roads by acting to save the lives of others.

Dr Etienne Krug, Chair of the UN Road Safety Collaboration,
sends a message on the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims 20 November 2011

Today, on the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, we take pause to mourn the nearly 1.3 million people who lost their lives and the millions of others who were injured on the world's roads this year.

Our thoughts go out to the families whose loved ones began their day like any other, never to return home. We wish them strength and courage as they struggle to come to terms with their loss.

This World Day of Remembrance will be marked in myriad ways around the world.

In Ghana, victims and their families will present a petition to Parliament; while in New Zealand, child car seats will be symbolically displayed with wooden crosses. In Japan a candle-light vigil will take place in front of a darkened Tokyo Tower. In Luxemburg the first trees of the Road Victim Memorial Wood will be planted, while Poland will inaugurate one of the world's few national memorials dedicated to those who lost their lives in road traffic crashes.

Across the world, victims' voices - and their grief - will be heard.

2011 has been a momentous year for road safety. On 11 May the international community marked the start of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.

Governments acknowledged the threat of road traffic deaths to health and development, and committed themselves to the Decade goal to save 5 million lives and prevent 50 million injuries. Some used this occasion to release national Decade plans and new road safety legislation targeted at drinking and driving, speeding and using helmets, seat-belts and child car seats.

The World Health Organization convened associations of road traffic victims from 48 countries earlier in the year to plan their Decade contributions. With deep dedication and a relentless optimism, hundreds such organizations were among those who marked the start of the Decade in more than 100 countries.

The international community promotes efforts to ensure the rights of and improve services for the bereaved and injured and to reduce danger for all who use the world's roads. It supports the stated theme of this observance: "From Global Remembrance to Global Action Across the Decade".

Let's indeed make 2011-2020 a Decade to remember! Taking action to save the lives of others will be our greatest tribute to the memory of those already lost.

Source: World Day of Remembrance


Last updated on: 2012-10-24 | Link to this post