The UN Decade of Action for Road Safety was officially launched this week with the backing of more than 100 private sector organisations, including vehicle manufacturers, the insurance industry and road safety professionals.
This global initiative is aimed at cutting down accidents which claim a life, or cause lifelong injuries, every six seconds in the world.
This initiative unites the AA, RoadSafe, RAC Foundation, government agencies, police bodies and the British Medical Association, among the many participating businesses and organisations brought together for an event led by PACTS (the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety).
The campaign picks up the five key themes identified by the UN as critical in tackling road deaths:
• Road safety management
• Safer roads and mobility
• Safer vehicles
• Safer road users
• Post-crash response
The RAC Foundation revealed that in the UK, between the ages of 15 to 24 years, young people are 17 times more likely to die in a road traffic collision than from violent assault.
They are also 4 times more likely to die from a road traffic accident than from drug, alcohol or other substance poisoning. For the 10-14 age group 12% of all deaths are attributable to road traffic accidents. For 15-19 year olds the figure is 25% and for 20-24 year olds the figure is 18%.
The Road Safety Foundation wants to see an upgrading of the UK network to minimum 3-star standard by 2020 which would give benefits worth £35bn.
Robert Gifford, executive director of PACTS, said: “Nearly 640,000 children were born in 2004 and are turning 7 this year. If they come to learn to drive in 10 years’ time, we all commit that they will be driving on roads where all preventable deaths and injuries have become a thing of the past. This will be our legacy for young people by 2020.
“We anticipate the Secretary of State will make use of this important day to announce the government’s Strategic Framework for Road Safety. Its leadership is absolutely vital if we are to achieve our united aims.”