World leaders tasked to incorporate safety system to reduce road crash

06Mar 2020
Crispin Gerald
The Guardian
World leaders tasked to incorporate safety system to reduce road crash

GOVERNMENTS have been called upon to allocate sufficient resources for upgrading existing road infrastructure to incorporate safety system principles to achieve the global goals for reduction of road crashes.

Road designs are critical in the safe system approach, and a powerful means for achieving high-level of road safety.

The piece of advice was made by the Academic Expert Group (AEG) when making recommendations during the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety.

They were concerned that well-designed roads and road sides encourage safe driving speeds, heighten driver attention where risks are increased by the presence of vulnerable road users and prevent the types of crashes that lead to the most serious injuries.

They said the focus of global road safety efforts needs to remain on low-and middle-income nations, where 93 percent of road traffic fatalities occur.

This is because changes in low and middle income nations has been slower and governments in these nations needs to take a deeper look at their situation and address this issue, with the help of external partners as the situation requires.

According to them poor designed roads not only fail to protect road users from crashes, but also encourage behaviours that drastically increase risk such as in-appropriate speeds and interactions between vehicles and crossing pedestrians.

Data shows that 1.35 million people die on the roads every year, meaning that 3,700 people lose their lives in road traffic every day. Road trauma is serious and ongoing public health crisis.

Crash costs are typically 2-5 percent of nations GDP each year, impacting every country on earth. The crisis affects developing countries whereby 9 out of 10 road deaths occur.

In-depth crash investigation have shown strong interaction between the roles of vehicles, road infrastructure and road users in contributing to serious crashes, and indicate that road infrastructure factors are most strongly linked to a crash fatalities.

The 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety which was organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Swedish government marked the end of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, and successfully adopted a new global plan for 2020-2030 with a strong commitment to reduce road traffic fatalities and injuries by 50 percent.

Interviewed, Consultant and Advocate of road safety in Africa, Alpherio Nchimbi said governments are supposed to adopt the international road star rating methodology in the construction and set-up of road infrastructures to reduce road traffic fatalities.

The star rating technology under the international road assessment programme iRAP provides a simple and objective measure of the level of safety which is built-in-to the road for vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians.