The campaign ‘Save Lives: #SlowDown’ in Tashkent was launched
On 8 May 2017, a campaign in support of the UN Global Road Safety Week kicked off in Tashkent. Now in its fourth year, the global week will run until 14 May 2017. The week and the campaign, “Save Lives: #SlowDown”, will focus on speed and what can be done to address this key risk factor for road traffic deaths and injuries.
Speed contributes to around one third of all fatal road traffic crashes in high-income countries, and up to half in low- and middle-income countries. In the WHO European Region, nearly 85,000 people died from road crashes in 2013; of these, 39% were vulnerable road users (pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists). Road traffic injuries are the leading killer among children and young people aged 5-29 years. The UN Global Road Safety Week, on 8-14 May 2017, seeks to increase understanding of the dangers of speed and to spur action on measures to address it, thereby saving lives on the roads. More than half of the countries in the Region have signed on to take part in the initiative.
“Road traffic injuries are preventable and a 5% cut in average speed can result in a 30% reduction in the number of fatal road crashes, leading to many lives saved,” said Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “Sectors need to act together at the country and municipal level to implement measures to ensure that speed is controlled in order to make roads safer.”
The region is making progress on road safety, and death rates from road crashes have been going down. Yet despite an 8.1% reduction between 2010 and 2013 in the Region as a whole, fatal crashes continue to increase in some countries. A comparison of data from the countries in the Region reveals a nine-fold difference between countries with the lowest likelihood of dying on the roads and those with the highest.
National profiles on road safety are available for all 53 countries of the Region. These are primarily based on a survey for the Global status report on road safety 2015, which monitored progress towards the goals of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020. They provide information on road crash deaths and on key indicators to assess national road safety standards. Data show whether countries are successfully implementing safer road and vehicular standards, as well as providing post-crash care. The profiles also outline what legislation is in place to improve road user behaviour with laws and practices on key risk factors – such as regulating speed appropriate to road type, drink-driving and use of seat belts, motorcycle helmets and child restraints. The profiles rate the level of enforcement of road safety-related laws and also include information on laws regulating mobile phone use while driving.
Greater policy efforts are needed to protect all road users, with road systems designed to be people-centred. Practitioners and policy-makers can use the country profiles to assess progress and to ramp up efforts to achieve the Decade of Action goal of halving road traffic deaths by 2020 – also target 3.6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In addition, such efforts support work towards SDG target 11.2 on sustainable transport. Countries that have successfully reduced road traffic deaths have done so by prioritizing safety when managing speed.
Proven strategies to address speed include:
- building or modifying roads to include features that calm traffic
- establishing speed limits specific to the function of each road
- enforcing speed limits
- installing in-vehicle technologies to alert drivers when they are speeding and to reduce speed
- raising awareness about the dangers of speeding.
In 2011, Uzbekistan joined the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020. The initiative features a press conference with specialists from the Ministry of Health, the State Road safety Agency, the Kamolot Youth Movement as well as journalists. The press conference presents the goals and targets of the UN Global Road Safety Week, and the responsibilities of the WHO Country Office in Uzbekistan, and international recommendations for reducing speed. In addition, representatives of the Ministry of Health and the State Road Safety Agency described the situation with injuries caused by accidents in Uzbekistan as well as preventive action taken in Tashkent and Uzbekistan as a whole. Reporters had the opportunity to ask questions related to this problem.
Also, in an effort to increase Tashkent residents and drivers’ awareness, the Ministry of Health teamed up with WHO Country Office to put together the May 8-14 campaign as part of which the Korzinka.uz supermarket chain and Kamolot volunteers will disseminate sheets with recommendations for reducing speed.
Every resident and driver in Tashkent can reduce speed by at least 5 percent during the week and encourage their friends to do so. You can support the effort by placing the WHO sticker “Save Lives: #SlowDown” on your car, entrances and parking areas.