FIA President in Melbourne to leave united campaign on road safety
EVERY year more than one million people are killed and a staggering 50 million are seriously injured world-wide on the roads.
The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), Australian Automobile Association (AAA), the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport and RACV have joined forces in a united effort to tackle road deaths and injuries world-wide through the Decade of Action and Make Roads Safe campaign.
FIA President Jean Todt and global ambassador for the Make Roads Safe campaign and actor Michelle Yeoh are in Melbourne to urge Australians to tackle the problem.
Ms Yeoh said the launch of these significant road safety initiatives aimed to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries world-wide by introducing programs at local, national and global levels.
"Australia has a relatively good road safety record in comparison to many countries and has a proud history of leadership in its introduction of many valuable road safety initiatives," said Ms Yeoh.
"As we enter this Decade of Action for Road Safety, Australia has a unique opportunity. This initiative coincides with Australia's new National Road Safety Strategy 2011-20 (NRSS) – a 10-year plan that aims to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on the roads."
Ms Yeoh urged Australian leaders to be bold and visionary with the NRSS document and set strong targets to cut road death and injury.
"Be ambitious with your targets, in the knowledge that ambitious targets can be achieved and develop strong and visible national leadership, and appropriately funded road safety programs, so that no one can doubt your commitment to reducing road trauma," she said.
In its draft NRSS document the Federal Government has proposed a target of 30 per cent reduction in fatalities and serious injuries over the coming decade compared with the 40 per cent target set in the previous ten-year strategy.
RACV President and Chairman, Peter Chandler, said RACV was disappointed with the low target.
"Every day, around the world, 3,500 people are suddenly and violently killed in road crashes. These crashes are the leading cause of death for young people worldwide.
Such tragic deaths can be prevented if measures are taken by governments, road authorities, police and road users to improve safety," said Mr Chandler.
"RACV wants the Federal Government to 'lift the bar' by setting a 50 per cent target, which would bring it in line with the FIA's target in its global 'Make Roads Safe' campaign, and would be consistent with Australia's commitment as a formal signatory to the UN's Decade of Action.
"In the AAA submission to the Federal Government on the strategy, we have called for increased infrastructure spending to improve the safety of roads. We know that improved roads contribute significantly to an overall reduction in fatalities and serious injuries.
"There are also a number of actions being taken under the auspices of the Decade of Action which aim to cut road trauma through safer road infrastructure, safer vehicles, safer road users and safer speeds."
A year ago the United Nations General Assembly, supported by Australia, proclaimed the next 10 years the Decade of Action. In a month's time, the FIA Foundation and Make Roads Safe Campaign will launch the Decade of Action in a series of rolling events, from East to West across each of the world's 24 time zones, starting in New Zealand on May 11.
FIA President, Jean Todt said that making the world's roads safer is a global challenge. "This year 1.3 million people will die in road crashes and 50 million will be injured. If we accept the challenge and work together during the next decade 5 million people who would otherwise have been killed, will survive. The personal, social and economic impact of this is enormous and I urge governments everywhere to become active champions of road safety," President Todt said.