Observances Worldwide Remember Traffic Accident Victims

The annual World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims was marked in more than 50 countries on Nov. 18.

The third Sunday in November was designated in October 2005 as the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims by the United Nations General Assembly, which asked governments to use the occasion each year to focus on preventing traffic fatalities and draw the public's attention to the problem.

Crashes kill almost 1.3 million people annually and injure or disable as many as 50 million others, their costs are a significant drain on many countries' GDP, and there are specific steps governments can take to reduce them, including through impaired driving and seat belt enforcement actions and motorcycle helmet laws.

The 2012 World Day of Remembrance was marked in more than 50 countries on Nov. 18. The World Health Organization and the UN Road Safety Collaboration (UNRSC) encourages governments and non-governmental organizations to commemorate the day; WHO set up UNRSC following the UN General Assembly's April 2004 adoption of resolution A/RES58/289 inviting WHO to act as the coordinator on road safety issues across the UN system, which brought about the Decade of Action for Road Safety, a 2011-2020 plan with the goal of saving 5 million lives during that period on the world's roads. UNRSC holds semiannual meetings to discuss road safety issues.

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