Historic moment for global road safety as governments agree on targets

Historic moment for global road safety as governments agree on targets

In an historic move, Member States have concluded work on a comprehensive set of global road safety targets to measure progress on addressing key risk factors and service delivery mechanisms.

At the meeting Member States were represented by senior government officials from capital cities and Geneva-based diplomatic missions, from a broad range of sectors, including health, transport, interior and police, among others. The meeting was chaired by Dr Viroj Tangcharoensathien of Thailand.

Road traffic injuries are the tenth leading cause of death globally, responsible for around 1.3 million deaths each year and as many as 50 million injuries. To accelerate action to reduce this burden, the UN General Assembly declared a Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.


Road traffic crashes remain the #1 killer of young people aged 15-29 globally.

Recognizing the obstacle that road traffic injuries present to development efforts, Member States also included two specific targets on road safety (SDG 3.6 and SDG 11.2) in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. SDG target 3.6 seeks to reduce road traffic deaths and injuries by 50% by 2020 and SDG target 11.2 aims to provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport by 2030.
The performance targets they reached consensus on align with the five pillars of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020: road safety management, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, safer road users, and post-crash response. The performance targets are:
  • Target 1: By 2020, all countries establish a comprehensive multisectoral national road safety action plan with time-bound targets. 

  • Target 2: By 2030, all countries accede to one or more of the core road safety-related UN legal instruments.

  • Target 3: By 2030, all new roads achieve technical standards for all road users that take into account road safety, or meet a three star rating or better.

  • Target 4: By 2030, more than 75% of travel on existing roads is on roads that meet technical standards for all road users that take into account road safety. 

  • Target 5: By 2030, 100% of new (defined as produced, sold or imported) and used vehicles meet high quality safety standards, such as the recommended priority UN Regulations, Global Technical Regulations, or equivalent recognized national performance requirements.

  • Target 6: By 2030, halve the proportion of vehicles travelling over the posted speed limit and achieve a reduction in speed-related injuries and fatalities.

  • Target 7: By 2030, increase the proportion of motorcycle riders correctly using standard helmets to close to 100%.
  • Target 8: By 2030, increase the proportion of motor vehicle occupants using safety belts or standard child restraint systems to close to 100%.

  • Target 9: By 2030, halve the number of road traffic injuries and fatalities related to drivers using alcohol, and/or achieve a reduction in those related to other psychoactive substances.  

  • Target 10: By 2030, all countries have national laws to restrict or prohibit the use of mobile phones while driving.

  • Target 11: By 2030, all countries to enact regulation for driving time and rest periods for professional drivers, and/or accede to international/regional regulation in this area. 

  • Target 12: By 2030, all countries establish and achieve national targets in order to minimize the time interval between road traffic crash and the provision of first professional emergency care. 

So what does this mean for youth?
As government around the world have agreed on these targets and the timelines leaning towards 2030, you as youth champions for road safety can begin to hold you government accountable and push for the targets that directly impact your life. It is another opportunity for youth to be part of the solution and approach decision makers to participate in the road safety decision making that comes from these targets.

However, as the single biggest killer of young people globally, MORE must be done to address youth specifically in global targets.

In his statement to the meeting, WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, noted "By making roads and vehicles safer, and by improving the behaviour of road users, we can prevent road traffic crashes from happening in the first place. By pursuing universal health coverage, we can ensure that victims receive good quality care, when and where they need it. This applies not only for trauma care, but also for mental health and rehabilitation services. Together these measures don't just save lives; they also make economic sense."



Countries that have managed to improve road safety have shown that doing so is aided by setting targets and reporting on progress towards those targets based on agreed indicators. Targets and associated indicators provide a means to monitor the extent of progress, and provide an opportunity to adjust the focus and scale of national road safety activities as needed in order to ensure that targets are met. In the coming months, WHO will work with Member States and other UN agencies to develop a set of indicators to facilitate measurement of the new targets.

Member States requested WHO to facilitate this process through the "Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety" and through resolutions of the UN General Assembly and World Health Assembly.