Road Safety: HI Commits to Protect Children


Every day more than 500 children die in road crashes.[1] Annually, road traffic accidents kill almost 1.3 million people and more than 20 million people are seriously injured worldwide. They are the leading cause of death among 15- to 25-year-olds, and more than 90% of deaths occur in in low- and middle-income countries. As more people are able to buy cars and motorcycles in the developing world, the rate of road accidents is increasing and the resulting deaths, physical disabilities, and psychological distress are creating a tremendous negative economic impact on victims, their families, and society in general.

"If effective steps are not taken immediately, by 2040, road traffic accidents will cause 2.4 million deaths a year,” says Eric Remacle, Handicap International Road Safety Technical Advisor. “Improving road safety is a priority for Handicap International."

Handicap International is currently one of only a few international NGOs fighting to put road safety on the development agenda and advocating for safety measures to protect vulnerable road users. On May 7 and 8, the organization will take part in the Child Road Safety Americas Congress,[2] held as part of the third United Nations Global Road Safety Week.[3] The agenda will examine the critical situation regarding children on the roads and seek ways to improve child road safety, and to ensure the campaign for improved road safety is included in the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals.[4]

Since 2000, Handicap International has been actively campaigning for improved road safety. The organization is currently running projects in Benin, DRC, Cambodia, Kenya, Laos, Vietnam, Tajikistan, and Haiti in order to raise communities' awareness of the risks relating to road accidents, to improve infrastructure, and to support victims of road traffic accidents.

"It is vital that people are made aware of the risks and know the importance of wearing helmets and seatbelts, not drinking and driving, and driving at the speed limit,” says Remacle. “We also work in schools to ensure children are aware of the risks at a very early age and know how to behave around roads.”

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[1] World Health Organization, 2015.

[3] Global Road Safety Week will take place from 4 - 10 May 2015.

[4] The 8 Millennium Development Goals were set by the United Nations in 2000 (2000-2015). Several UN processes are currently underway to draw up new sustainable development objectives by September 2015.