International Risk Reduction Day is observed every year on the 13th of August. The day represents a global call to governments and organizations from all over the world to work toward a culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction. Risk reduction is multi-sectoral; it links policies on land use, building codes, public health, education, environmental protection, and climate change adaptability. Road crashes are among the major risks for the health of the general population, especially among the youth, worldwide.
Road Crashes as a Risk
Road crashes continue to injure and take the lives of people from all over the world. There are several risk factors, most of which can be based on the five pillars of road safety, that contribute to the severe effects of road crashes.
Improper road safety management, unsafe roads, unsafe vehicles, unsafe road users, and inadequate post-crash response could increase the risk of people getting injured, handicapped, or killed on the road.
Improper road safety management means problems and setbacks in the strategy, targets, and funding in programs and projects for creating safer roads and more sustainable mobility. Leadership affects the push for road safety in local, regional, and global settings.
Unsafe infrastructure, unsafe vehicles, and unsafe road users are factors that everyone lives with and are exposed to every day. Roads that have deteriorated or have low systems can result in drivers losing control of their vehicles or of vehicles getting more worn and unsafe.
Post-crash care is also an important factor to consider when discussing the risk. Good post-crash responses would mean an improved ability of health through appropriate emergency treatment and long-term rehabilitation but a poor one could mean dying or living with a permanent disability.
Speeding is also important to consider in road crash risks. The National Safety Council, speeding reduces the amount of time the driver has to react to dangerous situations to avoid road crash. It records that speeding was a factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities, killing an average of 25 people per day.
Road crashes are the leading killer of young people aged 15-29 worldwide.
Reducing the Risk
International Day of Risk Reduction celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness on the importance of reigning in the risks that they face.
Recently, the United Nations has released a resolution declaring the new Decade of Action for Road Safety. The document commends member states and organizations that have made significant efforts to promote road safety and provide sustainable mobility for the community.
The UN Road Safety Trust Fund is one of the global road safety initiatives used to help achieve SDG Target 3.6 – halving the number of road-related deaths and injuries by the year 2030 – and SDG Target 11.2 - provide access to safe, affordable, accessible, and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons.
Head of UNECE, Olga Algayeriva explains that the Road Safety Trust Fund “will serve as a catalyst for much-needed progress towards the road safety targets of the Sustainable Development Goals”.
Another key initiative is Vision Zero, which is designed to eliminate traffic accident fatalities completely. The programs under Vision Zero are specific to preventing the death of vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists while others are described as “more expansive”.
Multiple road safety initiatives have been created but there is still more work to be done.
YOURS and its Mission to Make the World’s Road for Youth
YOURS believes that youth play a vital role in the road safety revolution. The best way to reduce the risk of road crashes is to eliminate them completely by engaging and involving youth in global road safety development efforts.
Earlier this year, in July, the Global Youth Coalition for Road Safety was launched. The Coalition united individual youth and organizations and guides and prepares them to take action on road safety and safe mobility issues. The Coalition champions meaningful youth participation in road safety and beyond.
Research has shown that young people are “assets” in disaster and risk management. Young people aged 15 to 24 make up 1.2 billion of the world’s population, coming up to 16%. It only makes sense to involve such a huge part of the population in creating solutions for global issues, including road crashes.
Be part of the road safety movement!