Press Releases

    For information only - not an official document

    19 November 2010

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

    "Estimated 1.3 Million People Lose their Lives on the World's Streets and Highways each Year"

    Message on the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims,
    21 November 2010

    VIENNA, 21 November (UN Information Service) - On the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims we mourn the estimated 1.3 million people who lose their lives on the world's streets and highways each year, and we renew our resolve to prevent further deaths.

    Many tragedies can be avoided through a set of proven, simple measures that benefit not only individuals and families but society at large.

    Recognition is growing about the critical development and public health challenge posed by road traffic deaths and injuries. This greater awareness has prompted governments and their partners to step up their response. Earlier this year, the UN General Assembly declared the first-ever "Decade of Action for Road Safety," providing an opportunity for global action.

    I call on Member States, international agencies, civil society organizations, businesses and community leaders to ensure that the Decade leads to real improvements. As a step in this direction, governments should release their national plans for the Decade when it is launched globally on 11 May 2011.

    The United Nations Road Safety Collaboration will soon release its global plan for the Decade, which calls for measures to make roads and vehicles safer, improve the behaviour of drivers and pedestrians, and enhance emergency services.

    For my part, I have issued a directive to all United Nations staff instructing drivers of UN vehicles to practice road safety, including by wearing seatbelts, obeying speed limits and avoiding the use of mobile phones and other distractions.

    If we all take these and other simple measures, we can give real meaning to this observance, thereby honouring the memory of the victims in the best way possible: with action to spare the lives of others.

    * *** *