Earlier this month, the UN Road Safety Collaboration (UNRSC) revealed that the theme for UN Road Safety Week 2021 will focus on speed. World Health Organization (WHO) Director of Social Determinants of Health, Dr. Etienne Krug, said that the theme “stresses how central tackling speed is to reduce deaths by 50% by 2030”.
UN Road Safety Weeks
The UN Global Road Safety Weeks and its’ campaigns are coordinated by the UNRSC and are chaired by the WHO. During this week, all stakeholders are invited to plan and host events focused on road safety marking the specific road safety week.
The 2021 global road safety campaign will be the sixth UN Global Road Safety week since it was launched in 2007.
The first UN Road Safety Week focused on youth and road safety. At that time, a recorded 400,000 under 25 years old died on the world’s roads. The first road safety week culminated in an event called the World Youth Assembly for Road Safety, bringing together 400 young people from over 100 countries to tackle the road safety crisis.
The second UN Road Safety Week was held in 2013 and focused on pedestrian safety. This week highlighted the urgent need to better protect pedestrians. During this year, it was estimated that over 270,000 pedestrians lose their lives on the world’s roads, accounting for 22% of the total road traffic deaths of 1.24 million recorded during that year.
2015 saw the third UN Road Safety Week with the theme #SaveKidsLives. During this week, it was emphasized how road traffic crashes took the lives of 186,300 children every year. The campaign gathered more than a million signatures in support of the Child Declaration for Road Safety.
The fourth UN Road Safety Week, launched in 2017, was themed Save Lives – #SlowDown. The week raised awareness on how slowing down can make roads safer for children, family, and friends. Research shows that a 5% cut in average speed can result in a 30% reduction in the number of fatal road crashes.
The most recent road safety week happened last year in 2019 with the theme #SpeakUp to save lives. The recent road safety week focused on leadership for road safety to mobilize leaders and road safety stakeholders to take action to help reduce the number of road-related deaths and injuries.
The New Decade of Action
The 2021 UN Road Safety week will be an opportunity to launch the global plan for the newly proclaimed decade of action for road safety 2021-2030. Focusing on speeding, the next road safety week will highlight the importance of speed in the reduction of fatal road crashes.
According to WHO, speed has been identified as a key risk factor in road traffic injuries, influencing both the risk of a road crash as well as the severity of injuries that result from road crashes.
Different road safety organizations have already shown support for the 2021 road safety week with the hashtag #RoadSafetyWeek.