World Leaders Gather for Road Safety Summit
World leaders will gather in Moscow this week to develop a strategy to tackle the largest public health issue on the planet – road trauma. More than 1.3 million people die a year from road traffic injuries and millions more are hospitalised, with predictions the road death figure will increase to almost 2 million by 2020.
Governments and world leaders will assemble at the first ever Global Ministerial Summit on Road Safety to implement a 10-year action plan prepared by the FIA Foundation’s Commission for Global Road Safety – Make Roads Safe – which would be ratified by the United Nations.
The Australian Automobile Association, Australia’s peak motoring body and a member of the FIA, said today the meeting should endorse the Decade of Action plan to bring down the high road fatality rate – more people die from road trauma than those suffering from malaria.
The Make Roads Safe report recommends reducing road fatalities by 50 per cent by 2020 – which would save up to 5 million lives and prevent 50 million serious injuries.
But AAA Chief Executive, Mike Harris, expressed disappointment at the Federal Government’s decision not to send any parliamentary representative to the UN Global Road Safety summit.
“Australia’s motoring clubs and road safety programs are recognised as world leaders, and our Government’s absence will be noted,” Mr Harris said.
Mr Harris also noted that Australia’s own 10-year National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS), due to expire next year, has fallen well short of its targetted reductions in road fatalities and trauma.
“In Australia, some five people die each day and more than 75 are hospitalised with serious injury – there is a need for concerted action here and internationally to bring down these tragically high figures,” he said.
“There needs to be a heightened public debate about the development of the next NRSS, given the current plan has fallen short of its targets – more than 1400 people died on Australian roads last year.
“Issues such as infrastructure, young drivers, older drivers, public transport and vehicle safety are not the full preserve of the Commonwealth so there needs to be a broad debate involving governments, the motoring public and all road users to assist development of the next NRSS.”
To this end, AAA will host a Road Safety Summit in February next year to further promote the Make Roads Safe campaign and encourage discussion on a new Road Safety Strategy for Australia for 2011-2020.