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2. Key developments in road safety
- Road safety is an urgent international development priority in view of the growing humanitarian crisis of road traffic injury in low- and middle-income countries.
- In support of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020, a Global Plan has set a highly ambitious goal ‘to stabilize and then reduce forecast road deaths’ by 2020. If achieved, the estimated saving would be 5 million lives and 50 million fewer serious injuries worldwide.
- International development organisations concerned with transport and health are promoting the paradigm shift to the ethical Safe System goal and strategy, which involves zero tolerance of the traditional trade-off between mobility and serious and fatal road injury.
- Safe System is seen as particularly relevant for LMICs since it addresses the human vulnerabilities of all road users. It aligns with a range of international development goals and public policies for sustainable transport, occupational health and safety, child welfare, and social equity.
- International development agencies emphasise that long-term governmental ownership and leadership is required. Political interest needs to be translated into ambitious long-term goals, step-wise targets, and provision of appropriate human and financial resources.
- The safe planning, design, operation and use of the road network is recognised as a fundamental intervention strategy and the prime focus of this manual.