Around 1.25 million people die each year globally due to road traffic crashes and between 20 and 50 million more sustain non-fatal injuries.1 Over 90% of the road deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. In 2004 alone, 306 000 people were estimated to have been killed on SEAR roads. Road traffic injuries (RTI) are the ninth leading cause of death globally; current trends suggest that they will become the fifth by 2030, with the disparity between rich and poor countries further accentuated. These deaths and injuries have an immeasurable impact on the affected families and communities including direct and indirect costs resulting from these injuries. RTIs have captured global and regional attention and efforts to address the issues are being made by all partners concerned.
The recommended strategy
Following a review of the road safety situation in the South-East Asia Region, including burden of disease, existing road safety legislation with level of enforcement and targets for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020, a strategy to address the problem has been proposed. The basic principles of the strategy are as follows:
1. Multisectoral approach:
● orchestrated action with health and non-health sector partnerships; and ● encouragement and facilitation of multisectoral involvement for sustainable road safety programmes including city planning.
2. Designation of lead agency
● designation of lead agency, chaired by the highest level of authority, with the capacity to develop and lead the delivery of national road safety strategies, plans, targets and budget.
3. Capacity-building of personnel working in road safety in different sectors
● building capacity among the people working on road safety e.g. lead agency, ministry of health and other related sectors, people to provide post-crash response (doctors/nurses, paramedics and first responders), academics and researchers.
4. Comprehensive programmes to improve road user behaviour
● adopt comprehensive legislation programmes that meet best practices on all key risk factors to address preventable causes of death, injury and disability; and
● Sustained or increased enforcement of laws and standards, licensing and graduate licensing system for new drivers, safe driving education. 26 Regional strategy for Road Safety in South-East Asia Region
5. Education and public awareness
● raise public awareness for increasing understanding of and support for safety provisions, legislative and enforcement measures on major risk factors, and standard road safety curriculum in early education;
● regulate and monitor the advertising and marketing process of the industry to comply with the law and not to promote risk behaviours or settings; and
● regular monitoring and control are required.
6. Integration of road traffic injury prevention with core health function
● integration of road traffic injury prevention and road safety promotion activities into public health policies, programmes and services including strengthening them as part of the primary health care package.
7. Sharing knowledge, evidence, information and networking
● support to national networking of national institutions, academia and individuals who practice road safety promotion to share experiences and advance the agenda of road safety at least every two years.
8. Data and research evidence generation for policy planning
● data generation through injury surveillance, research and surveys of major behaviours related to road safety in important determining groups, eg; police enforcement trend, parents support to road safety behaviours, operational research or registry for feeding policy planning;
● generating evidence for monitoring implementation and effectiveness of the programme; and
● encouraging research for newer technology and measures.
9. Improved vehicle safety
● ensuring improvement of vehicle safety in line with relevant global standards including uptake of new technologies, standard safety specification, and safety check list. A comprehensive policy package for pedestrian safety or motorcycle safety or car safety, should be developed relevant to the leading group of road death in each country in the Region.
10. Development of sustainable alternative commuting systems
● promoting non-motorized and safe public transport and separating vulnerable road users as a way of protecting them; and Regional strategy for Road Safety in South-East Asia Region 27
● investment in safe public transport systems as a way of trying to mitigate some of the negative consequences associated with motorization for the rural setting in line with the urban setting; and a separate lane for vulnerable road users to protect them from heavy vehicles.
11. Improved roads and infrastructure
● raise the inherent safety and protective quality of road networks;
● implementation of various road infrastructure agreements under the UN framework, road infrastructure assessment; and
● improved safety-conscious city planning, design construction and operation of roads. Policies concerning neighbourhood schools with public transport facilities (including for free or subsidy for the same) should be considered by governments especially local governments.
12. Innovative mechanism for sustainable funding
● this is an important component to advance progress in road traffic injury prevention as it has various stakeholders, who need to focus their work in the same direction to achieve substantial reduction in mortality and morbidity.
● without a multisectoral budget for implementing the intervention harnessing all stakeholder activities together, the progress will not be substantial.
● innovative financing refers to a range of non-traditional mechanisms to raise additional funds for development aid through “innovative” projects such as micro-contributions, taxes, public-private partnerships and market-based financial transactions. Following are the sources for potential financing:
– Alcohol excise and other taxes
– Kerosene (heating/ lighting) excise and other relevant tax
– Motor vehicle excise tax, risk tax, annual registration fee and other relevant tax
– Fuel/petrol/oil excise and other relevant tax.
– Auction car’s plate number
– Road tax
– Penalty for violation of road traffic safety laws
For the full strategy click here
Source: The World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia