Fighting for Safer Roads


This article comes from the Handicap International Federation's new blog, "Influence & Ethics," which features Handicap International’s advocacy work and in-depth analyses on policy and ethics.

The United Nation's Second High Level Conference on Road Safety will take place November 18 and 19 in Brasilia, Brazil. Around 1,500 participants from 150 countries are expected to participate. They will share experiences and best practices towards reaching the goal of reducing of death and injuries related to road crashes by 2020.

New Handicap International Briefing Paper—Road safety: Focus on vulnerable users

This meeting marks a mid-point in the "UN Decade of Actions for Road safety 2011-2020." More than four years after the launch of this initiative, it is time for all the stakeholders to gather and discuss their achievements and the challenges ahead to save millions of lives and improve safety on the world’s roads. It will also be the opportunity to discuss emerging issues in road safety such as new technologies and sustainable mobility.

This meeting is also timely. Road safety has been recognized, within the post-2015 framework “Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” adopted last September, as a major public health and development issue, especially for low and middle income countries.

Sustainable Development Goal 3.6 states: “By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents”.

Goal 11 on sustainable cities is also crucial. Indeed, it specifically requires devoting special attention to the safety and mobility of the most vulnerable. People with disabilities—who had been forgotten by the Millennium Development Goals—are part of the most vulnerable and thus they are also directly targeted by this goal.

Ahead of the conference, Member States, UN organizations, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, and private sector entities have come together to elaborate a strong document, the “Brasilia Declaration,” which was adopted “ad ref” on September 4, 2015.

Handicap International will be present in Brasilia to bring its ten years of experience working on road safety in low- and middle-income countries, knowing that the poor and the vulnerable are disproportionally impacted. Indeed, low- and middle-income countries account for 90% of road accident casualties. Handicap International has long been advocating for safer roads, especially for vulnerable users such as people with disabilities.

For Handicap International, it is essential that all stakeholders, especially victims' associations and associations of people with disabilities, are involved involved in the planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of road safety policies, to:

  • Encourage the development of national strategies on road safety in line with the Global Plan for the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, supported through international cooperation in a joint effort to improve road safety;
  • Improve and systematize quality data collection systems to inform, monitor, and evaluate road safety related policies; and to assess the impact of road related injuries on mortality, morbidity and disability;
  • Link road safety issues with the broader issues of equitable access to safe and sustainable mobility (on roads, surrounding areas and for transportation), especially for vulnerable users including people with disabilities;
  • Strengthen post-crash response for victims of road crashes and push for providing universal access to health care for those injured and disabled due to road crashes, including for the provision of early rehabilitation services;
  • Encourage the development of indicators for the road safety related SDGs’ targets at global, regional, and national level with disaggregation of all relevant targets by disability and ensuring targets that explicitly reference persons with disabilities are matched with disability-related indicators.