Decade of Action for Road Safety launched

Issue 28 – June 2011

The 'Decade of Action for Road Safety' was launched by the United Nations on 11 May 2011 to prevent road traffic deaths and injuries, which experts project will take the lives of 1.9 million people annually by 2020. Countries around the world are hosting high-profile events and releasing national plans to improve safety and services for victims.

In New Zealand, Transport Minister Steven Joyce released a Safer Journeys Action Plan 2011 – 12 on 11 May 2011, outlining the government's next steps on road safety. The plan was released at the global launch of the Decade of Action.

ISO is providing major support for the Decade of Action, with over 800 Standards for the automotive sector and over 200 international Standards contributing to road safety. ISO is also developing an eagerly awaited Standard for road traffic safety management systems – the future ISO 39001. ISO 39001 Road-traffic safety management systemsRequirements with guidance for use will make an immense impact on the development of traffic safety and diminish a major public health problem across the world.

Commenting on the Decade of Action, ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele says, 'This important event has the opportunity to make a global commitment to take serious action on an issue that is of concern to developed and developing countries alike. Many other threats to the health and safety of citizens get more attention, but the sheer scale and impact on people's lives of the results of poor road safety cries out for more and concerted action. ISO is pleased and proud to contribute its know-how to this global challenge requiring immediate action.'

The Decade of Action includes a Global Plan that outlines steps towards improving the safety of roads and vehicles, enhancing emergency services, and building up road safety management generally. The Global Plan also calls for increased legislation and enforcement on using helmets, seat-belts, and child restraints, and avoiding driving and drinking/speeding. Today, only 15% of countries have comprehensive laws that address all these factors. If successfully implemented, the Global Plan's activities could save 5 million lives and prevent 50 million serious injuries over the course of the Decade.

For more information about the 'Decade of Action for Road Safety' visit http://www.decadeofaction.org/. For more information about the Safer Journeys Action Plan 2011 – 12 visit http://www.transport.govt.nz/saferjourneys/ or read the Transport Minister's media release (www.beehive.govt.nz/release/govt%E2%80%99s-next-steps-road-safety).

Published in consumer and occupational safety.