Choose the Road to Zero Motor Vehicle Crash DeathsPosted on by
The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims takes place every third Sunday in November. It serves as a way to:
- Remember the millions of people killed and injured in road crashes as well as their families, friends and those affected;
- Pay tribute to the dedicated emergency responders, police and medical professionals who deal with the traumatic aftermath of road death and injury;
- Remind the international community, governments and individual members of society of their responsibility to make roads safer.
According to the World Health Organization, about 1.25 million people die each year globally as a result of road traffic crashes. Road traffic injuries represent the leading cause of death among young people aged 15-29 years. More than 90% of the world’s road fatalities occur in low- and middle-income countries, even though these countries have approximately half of the world’s vehicles. Without action, road traffic crashes are predicted to rise to become the 7th leading cause of death by 2030.
The United Nations (UN) recognizes the need for action. In 2010 a UN General Assembly resolution proclaimed a Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011–2020) with the aim of saving millions of lives by improving the safety of roads and vehicles; enhancing the behavior of road users; and improving emergency services. In 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to transform our world officially came into effect with a specific goal to reduce traffic injuries globally. Over the next fifteen years, with these new universal goals, countries will join efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change.
At CDC, we support the UN and the World Health Organization (WHO) efforts by providing technical assistance to governmental and non-governmental organizations to build better systems to collect and analyze data on road traffic injuries, and use data to plan and evaluate programs. CDC’s global road safety projects focus on surveillance, monitoring and evaluation, mentorship, and training. Examples of projects in each of these areas include:
- Surveillance: Collaborating on surveillance projects with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) and the Thailand Ministry of Public Health.
- Monitoring and evaluation: Providing assistance to the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation to collect and evaluate data for the Global Helmet Vaccine Initiative (GHVI) in Cambodia, and AMEND to help create and evaluate plans and tools for the School Area Road Safety Assessments and Improvements project in Africa.
- Mentorship: Providing annual mini-grants and technical assistance to 3-5 Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) residents working on road traffic injury projects.
- Training: Offering training on road traffic injury surveillance.
Reducing motor vehicle crash deaths was one of the great public health achievements of the 20th century for the US; however, in 2015 more than 35,000 people were killed and more than 2 million people are injured each year in the US from motor vehicle crashes. The major risk factors for crash deaths in the US are:
- Not using seat belts, car seats, and booster seats, which contributed to over 9,500 crash deaths;
- Drunk driving, which contributed to more than 10,000 crash deaths; and
- Speeding, which contributed to more than 9,500 crash deaths.
In Sweden, in 1997 a new idea opened the door to a new way of thinking: Vision Zero. This idea that no one should die or suffer serious injury in traffic crashes became a highly successful safe systems approach to road safety, and has evolved across the country and the world. In the U.S., many states and cities have accepted the challenge. Similar to this vision, Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) focuses on the “4 E’s”: education, enforcement, engineering and emergency medical and trauma services. A combination of strategies and the collaboration of different groups such as public health organizations, law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services and occupant protection will be necessary to achieve the TZD vision. This partnership-focused effort can only succeed if we all work together.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Highway Administration, and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration are joining forces with the National Safety Council to launch the Road to Zero coalition with the goal of ending fatalities on the nation’s roads within the next 30 years. In October 2016, the Department of Transportation committed $1 million a year for the next three years to provide grants to organizations working on lifesaving programs. CDC will actively participate in the coalition.
No one can forget the devastation caused by a lost life, especially when in many cases it can be prevented. Everyone can join us today on the road to zero by taking steps to be safe on the roads at home or abroad such as:
- Use a seat belt in every seat, on every trip, no matter how short.
- Make sure children are always properly buckled in the back seat in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt, whichever is appropriate for their age, height, and weight.
- Choose not to drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs, and help others do the same.
- Obey speed limits.
- Drive without distractions (such as using a cell phone or texting).
- Be alert when crossing streets, especially in countries where motorists drive on the left side of the road.
- Ride only in marked taxis and try to ride in those that have seat belts.
- Avoid riding in overcrowded, overweight, or top-heavy buses or minivans.
- Check the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) website for driving hazards or risks by country.
The CDC Foundation recently published Business Pulse: Motor Vehicle Safety at Work to highlight steps businesses can take to help protect workers in the United States and overseas from complex motor vehicle safety challenges. These innovative employer strategies use science-based solutions from CDC’s National Institute for Occupational safety and Health (NIOSH).
- Global Road Safety
- CDC Vital Signs: Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths
- National Strategy on Highway Safety Toward Zero Deaths
- Vision Zero Initiative
- Vision Zero Network
- TRB Vision Towards Zero Deaths Subcommittee (ANB 10(9))
- Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015
- Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011–2020)
- UN Sustainable Development Goals
- 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
- NIOSH: Motor Vehicle Safety at Work