UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, right, receives a yellow road safety tag from Ambassador H.E. Fuad Al Hinai, the ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to the UN.

Decade of Action for Road Safety Kicks Off Soon

This worldwide campaign launches May 11 and has big-name support. The goal: Reducing traffic deaths 50 percent by 2020.

Laura Bush, Bill Clinton, Desmond Tutu, and national leaders from around the world are supporting the Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020), which has the ambitious goal of saving millions of lives that would otherwise end in traffic accidents around the world, especially in developing countries. Last month, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon urged countries around the world to release national plans for the Decade when it launches May 11.

Traffic deaths worldwide exceed 1.2 million per year, said Jack Hanley, executive director of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, which is a member of the Decade. He also said Jan. 6 that developing areas of the world suffer many more pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Hanley provided a link to WHO data, traffic deaths statistics for most of the world. They are available here.

Ban recently was presented with a yellow road safety tag by Ambassador H.E. Fuad Al Hinai, the ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to the UN, who is a member of the Commission for Global Road Safety and the instigator of several UN resolutions about global road traffic injuries since 2003.

"All of us can play a part in increasing safety and promoting sustainable transport," Ban said. "Millions of lives can be saved if we work together for real action on every highway and every street in every community." He noted almost 3,500 people lose their lives daily on the world's roads, 85 percent of them in low- and middle-income countries.

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