Every year over 210,000 people are killed in road crashes and millions more are seriously injured in Commonwealth countries. Today road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young people aged 5-29 years. This is a major challenge for Commonwealth countries as over 60% of their populations are under 30. Improved road safety must become a major priority for Commonwealth countries concerned to protect the wellbeing and health of their children and young people.
Road safety in the 53 countries of the Commonwealth is very diverse. Fatality rates in road crashes range from 3 to 35 per 100,000 population. However, in nearly all Commonwealth countries fatality and injury rates are rising rather than falling. In 2015 Commonwealth countries strongly supported the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which include commitments to road safety. Urgent action is now required to ensure that road deaths and serious injuries across the Commonwealth are halved by 2030.
Hosted by the Towards Zero Foundation, under the patronage of His Royal Highness, Prince Michael of Kent, the new Commonwealth Road Safety Initiative (CRSI) addressed the action needed to prevent a decade of predictable and preventable death and serious injury on the roads of Commonwealth countries.
"I am proud to serve as the Patron of the Commonwealth Road Safety Initiative (CRSI). The purpose of the CRSI is to raise the profile of road safety on the agenda of the Commonwealth and encourage stronger action by its 53 members countries to reduce traffic deaths and serious injuries. Every year over 210,000 people are killed in road crashes in Commonwealth countries and many more experience life changing injuries. Children and young people, accounting for over 60% of the population of the Commonwealth, are especially at risk.
Based on the Commonwealth’s current priorities for youth, health, and sustainable development, the CRSI aims to halve the number of people killed or seriously injured in a new decade of action for road safety to 2030. Bringing together experts and practitioners from across the Commonwealth, the Initiative will encourage implementation of effective, evidence based, policies that can save lives.
Even though the road safety performance of many Commonwealth country differs widely, they all face a common challenge to prevent a rising tide of road crash injury. Asdemand for road transport increases the task of improving road safety becomes ever more urgent. We need a combination of safer roads, safer road users, and safer vehicles, all managed together in a road transport system that is safer and sustainable by design. And with road traffic injuries now the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29 years, I strongly believe that road safety mustbe also become a major priority in child and adolescent health. We know that most traffic deaths and serious injuries are predictable and preventable. The Commonwealth is a unique forum that is well placed to share expertise and to foster partnerships for road injury prevention. That is why I believe the Commonwealth in the decade ahead can and should become a world leader in road safety".
The CRSI has brought together a distinguished panel of road safety experts to prepare a report of recommendations for Commonwealth countries. Building on established Commonwealth commitments to youth, health, and the SDGs, the CRSI will highlight the importance of:
Members of the Commonwealth Road Safety Initiative Expert Panel includes our staff Manpreet Darroch
For more information visit www.commonwealthrsi.org