#CommitToAct Streets for Life

Europe Call to Action from the Global Alliance of Road Safety NGOs

An Urgent Call to Action for Europe

Rationale

Each year, the world suffers 1.3 million preventable deaths and an estimated 50 million injuries from road crashes[1]. Without serious action, road crashes will cause an estimated 13–17 million more deaths and 500 million more injuries in the current decade[2].

UN Member States have adopted a resolution 74/299 Improving Global Road Safety[3] and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (target 3.6)[4] and are therefore mandated to reduce road deaths and injuries by 50% by 2030. We know what works to achieve this target: the actions needed are set out in the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021–2030[5].

Frameworks and targets have been set: it is time to act now.

Regional Context

Although the European region has the lowest regional rates of road traffic deaths (9.3 deaths per 100,000 people) in the world, people are still dying every year on the region’s roads. Across the region, road crashes kill more children and young people aged 5–29 than any other cause[6]. In the European Union (EU), which accounts for 27 of the 53 countries in the region, progress toward reducing road deaths between 2011–2020 fell short of the 50% target[7]. Even if we reach the updated target to reduce road deaths by 50% by 2030, this still means over 9.5 million road deaths over ten years.

Many countries in Europe are working toward their road safety targets with a variety of management systems, such as the Safe System approach and Vision Zero by 2050.The recent EU Mission Climate Neutral & Smart Cities[8] target for 100 carbon neutral cities by 2030 adds further impetus for safe active mobility and public transportation to reduce our carbon footprint and make roads safer.

We must seize this window of opportunity to scale up action on road safety. By doing so, we will not only save lives and empower others to save lives, but also improve public health, stimulate economic growth, and promote environmental sustainability.

Regional systems and policies provide a framework to address road safety; European countries must fully commit to them and turn commitments into concrete actions.

Call to Action

We call on all governments in Europe to commit to act for people’s right to safe mobility and a 50% reduction in road deaths and injuries by 2030 through implementation of evidence-based interventions that put people at the center, protect our children and their right to life and education, safeguard the environment, and promote equality and inclusion.

Safe mobility is our right.

We demand:

  • Evidence-based actions, with particular focus on the safety of those at greatest risk of harm on our roads, including children, pedestrians, and cyclists
    1. Prioritize the interventions that will achieve the 2030 target most quickly and effectively by:
      1. Implementing national laws mandating 30 km/h speed limits where people walk, live, and play;
      2. Encouraging and enforcing compliance to these speed limits, demonstrating the benefit of low-speed streets for people and planet;
      3. Addressing other key causes of road deaths and injuries in Europe, by reviewing legislation, such as blood-alcohol limits, aligned to WHO recommendations or better, and encouraging and enforcing compliance to existing regulations.
    2. Encourage people to choose walking, cycling, and public transportation by:
      1. Changing the way our roads, urban spaces, and public transport systems are designed and built, based on the needs of the children and adults that use them and making it safe, affordable, and accessible to shift from private motorized vehicles to active, sustainable modes of transport, including walking, cycling, and public transport;
      2. Reviewing and introducing regulation, based on international best practice, for safe use of new and emerging transport modes, such as e-scooters, that have potential to contribute beneficially to a shift to active and sustainable transport but must be safely integrated to protect users of these new transport modes and all other road users that they interact with;
      3. Harmonizing national legislation to regional mandates, such as EU Directives, and pushing for regional guidance where none currently exists, including use of e-scooters and other emerging modes of transport.
    3. Improve data collection and sharing system to improve policy implementation by:
      1. Establishing unified, comprehensive data systems that produce timely, reliable, accurate, well-categorized road safety data and the causes contributing to crash fatalities and serious injuries;
      2. Introducing key performance indicators (KPIs) for road safety data, defining a data collection program for this purpose, and making KPIs part of periodical monitoring activities.
    4. Provide comprehensive support systems for road crash victims and their families and guarantee their protection by:
      1. Ensuring crash victims’ and families’ rights to information and support through the post-crash period, as well as medical, rehabilitative, psychological, social, and judicial support, and, where appropriate, financial support and fair compensation;
      2. Mandating thorough investigations for crashes that result in serious and fatal injuries, including determining cause and detecting culpability. The data should be used to inform prevention strategies and ensure an effective judicial response for victims and their families;
      3. Ensuring effective deterrents, rigorous enforcement, and prosecution and sentencing of offenders as appropriate.
  • Investment in road safety
    1. Allocate comprehensive funding for the full implementation of the above-mentioned actions and report on it annually;
    2. Create and report on innovative schemes to finance road safety interventions.
  • NGO involvement in decision-making processes
    1. Establish clear mechanisms at national, regional, and city levels that include civil society organizations and facilitate NGOs to share their knowledge and expertise, in order to complement government’s work.

Our role and commitment

We, as civil society, have a role defined in the Global Plan. We commit to play our part in advocating for and enabling people’s rights to safe mobility and achieve a 50% reduction in road deaths and injuries by 2030.

We commit to:

  • Stand up for people’s right to be safe on the roads

We empower people and communities. We show the reality of the roads they use and highlight the experiences of road victims and their loved ones who have been affected by crashes. We speak up on decisions that affect road safety.

  • Use data and evidence to show what needs to be done

We amplify data, evidence, and best practices from around the world and we collect ground-level evidence that show the impact of safe and unsafe roads on people and communities.

  • Hold our governments accountable for people’s right to be safe on the road and for the 2030 target

We keep road safety on the agenda until every person is guaranteed — through commitment and action — their right to safe mobility. We monitor progress and put a spotlight on action and inaction.

  • Leverage regional platforms

We will leverage regional platforms to advocate for region-wide mandates, targets, and KPIs in both EU and non-EU European countries.

[1] WHO. (2018). Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018. Geneva: World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241565684

[2] WHO & UN Regional Commissions. (2021). Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021–2030. https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/global-plan-for-the-decade-of-action-for-road-safety-2021-2030; Job, RFS. (2019). Development of a Safe System Approach, Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, 13 January 2019, Washington DC.

[3] United Nations General Assembly. (2020). Resolution A/74/L86 Improving Global Road Safety. https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N20/226/30/PDF/N2022630.pdf?OpenElement   

[4] United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (2015). 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. https://sdgs.un.org/goals

[5]WHO & UN Regional Commissions. (2021). Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021–2030. https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/global-plan-for-the-decade-of-action-for-road-safety-2021-2030

[6]WHO Regional Office for Europe. (Accessed 2022). Health topics>Environment and health>Transport and health>Data and statistics Injuries. https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/environment-and-health/Transport-and-health/data-and-statistics/injuries2

[7]European Commission. (2021). Road safety: 4,000 fewer people lost their lives on EU roads in 2020 as death rate falls to all-time low  https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_21_1767

[8]European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. (2021). EU missions: 100 climate-neutral and smart cities, 2021, https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2777/197915

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