World Bank: “the number of traffic-related deaths could surpass those from HIV-AIDS by 2020.”
It is not often that I post these days. And is even less often that I simply cut and paste a press release. But while their headline wasn’t a grabber, that extract I used as the title struck me.
And, of course, for far too many people the whole idea of “road safety” is a bit of a yawn. They tend to be the sort of people who still talk about “accidents”. No doubt one of them was driving the car that overtook us on the wrong side on 49th Avenue at Granville on Monday night around 6pm. Because my partner was not driving at the posted speed but at one suited to the conditions – dark and raining heavily.
Road Safety: More Funding, Coordination Needed for the Poorest Countries
BRASILIA, Brazil, November 17, 2015 – Developing countries can make big gains in improving road safety with more funding and coordination to scale up interventions that deliver proven results, World Bank officials said ahead of a global conference.
Led by Managing Director Bertrand Badré and Senior Director Pierre Guislain, a World Bank delegation will participate in the 2nd Global High Level Conference on Road Safety on November 18-19 in Brasilia. They will discuss with clients, partners, and potential donors how best to scale up action, funding, and overall impact so that the poorest countries can see more progress.
The latest Global Status Report on Road Safety estimates that road deaths have leveled off since 2007. But they remain unacceptably high, at 1.25 million deaths and 50 million injuries a year. This is more deaths than from malaria or tuberculosis; and if trends continue, the number of traffic-related deaths could surpass those from HIV-AIDS by 2020.
Road injuries are the leading cause of death among those aged 15 to 29. Deaths and injuries in low- and middle-income countries are estimated to reduce GDP by 3 to 5%, often affecting the poorest. Since 2010, low-income countries have had higher average road deaths than middle-income countries. Africa remains the region with the highest death rates as of 2013, at 52% above the global average. All other regions reported a lower rate in 2013, the last year for which data is available.
“Both the public and private sectors need to step up efforts to meet the Global Goals’ ambitious target for 2020: reducing by half the number of road-related deaths” said World Bank’s Managing Director Bertrand Badré. “We must shift from stabilizing to dramatically reducing road deaths. This will require more commitment, scaled-up action, and dedicated funding.”
Over the past 10 years, the World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF) has promoted global knowledge sharing and multi-sectoral interventions with support from the UK, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the FIA Foundation. All World Bank road projects today include a safety component, and its lending targeted at road safety has increased more than 300%, from $56 million in FY 2006 to $239 million in FY 2015.
The GRSF seeks to expand its donor base to increase its global impact. It currently supports 44 projects in 26 countries. The focus includes road safety design and infrastructure, institutional capacity, legislation, policing and enforcement, behavior change by motorists and pedestrians, as well as safer cars and effective post-crash response.
GRSF funding and technical assistance is helping countries achieve significant results, including:
· Assessment of some 40,000 kilometers of high-risk roads in 13 countries, with potential to save 280,000 lives and reduce serious injuries over a 20-year period.
· A 35% drop in traffic-deaths on project roads in Argentina since 2011, and an 11% reduction in deaths along project corridors in Nigeria.
· Better institutional capacity for road safety management in many countries, including Brazil, China, India, Malawi, Mexico, Morocco, Russia, and Tanzania.
· Regional impact across Latin America through the Ibero-American Road Safety Observatory.
The results show that more hands-on partnership with committed governments, the private sector, and other partners can accelerate change and save precious lives.
“We are committed to helping countries halve the number of road fatalities and injuries, and we look forward to new partners who can join us in the Global Road Safety Facility,” said Pierre Guislain, Senior Director for the World Bank’s Transport & ICT Global Practice. “The international community needs to focus on the plight of low-income countries, which have just 1% of cars and 12% of the global population but suffer 16% of total deaths from road crashes.”