Preventing death and serious injury in road crashes requires a systematic, planned response, led by an appropriately resourced and accountable governmental leadership.
Countries with the safest road networks have demonstrated political will by targeting better road safety outcomes, adopting and funding a systematic, evidence-based approach to intervention, and ensuring key organisational arrangements are in place.
Addressing the Safe System goal means a shift in focus in road safety management from crash prevention to death and serious injury prevention since all humans make mistakes and crashes are inevitable.
Intervention to improve speed management, the intrinsic safety of vehicles, the road environment, and the efficiency of the emergency medical system, all have a major role to play in addressing this new Safe System focus.
An effective road safety management system covers three linked elements: institutional management functions, interventions and results. Each element is periodically reviewed against successful international practice to address challenging and ambitious road safety goals.
All countries should ensure that an effective road safety management system is in place. LMICs need to strengthen their road safety management systems to bring challenging levels of death and serious injuries under control, as do HICs when seeking more ambitious results.
A new international ISO standard provides a potentially useful tool for organisations of all sizes in the development of road safety management systems and for engaging employers in work-related road safety.
Critical issues are how to build capacity through institutional reforms; how to accelerate knowledge transfer and learn from previous experience; how to increase investment; and how to increase international cooperation and development aid support (for LMICs) sustainability.
Essential road safety management tools are available to help jurisdictions and organisations as well as international aid agencies in building capacity. International professional networks play a key role in helping to build knowledge and assist implementation.
A practical two-step process is outlined in national guidance for countries wishing to improve their results. This starts with a road safety management capacity review and the specification of an investment strategy leading to Safe System project design and implementation.
To produce rapid results, road safety programmes and projects must initially target high concentrations of crash deaths and serious injuries on sections and areas of the road network where the biggest gains can be made.