Stressing that road traffic deaths and injuries remained a major public health and development problem with broad social and economic consequences, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a draft resolution titled “Improving global road safety”, cautioning that, if left unaddressed, the current situation could affect progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Assembly also recognized the economic toll such deaths had on developing countries, with costs for some countries adding up to 5 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP) per year, making the reduction of road traffic deaths and injuries both an economic and a social priority.
Underscoring the gravity of the issue, Amina Mohammed, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, said that, as the number one cause of deaths among young people, road traffic deaths and injuries had become a global cause of concern. She called for measures to counter the rise in road traffic fatalities, including the recently established United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund, which was an opportunity to ensure synergy and coordination action on the ground and ultimately save lives.
Introducing the draft text, the representative of the Russian Federation said deaths and injuries resulting from road traffic accidents had a negative impact on socioeconomic progress and sustainable development. While steps taken by the international community had yielded positive results, more remained to be done, he said, noting that the resolution focused on strengthening multilateral cooperation for the benefit of reducing road traffic injuries.
The representative of the United Kingdom highlighted that;
That was far too high a price to pay for our essential mobility. Citing his country’s successful experience enforcing the use of seatbelts, he said that, as the result of educational campaigns, seatbelt usage today stood at more than 94 per cent and many lives had been saved.
The UN resolution placed a specific focus on young people as vulnerable road users. Specifc references were made in points 18 and 28: