Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Remarks at press event on Road Safety

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, New York (USA), 12 May 2011

Thank you, Mr. Mayor [Michael Bloomberg],
Transportation Commissioner Ms. Sadik-Khan,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear citizens of New York City,

Thank you very much, Mr. Mayor, for your leadership and commitment to save human lives on the road.

I am delighted to be here with Mayor Bloomberg, a good friend and strong supporter of the United Nations. We are here to push an issue we both care about deeply: road safety.

Every year around the world, more than 1.3 people die in traffic crashes.

Millions more are injured.

Families are broken apart. The futures of young people are dashed. Road accidents have become the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 29.

Many of these deaths are needless. That is their essential tragedy.

The good news is that because they are avoidable, we can do something about them.

With the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety, we have a roadmap. Our goal is to save 5 million lives between now and the year 2020.

The plan focuses on the big risks: speeding, drinking and driving, and failing to use seat-belts, helmets and child restraints.

I'd like to also caution to those drivers who are speaking on the phone and text messaging while driving.

It calls for better infrastructures.

It also calls for innovation – and Mayor Bloomberg is clearly among those who are thinking out of the box and I thank you again for your leadership.

Here in New York City, he has made dramatic efforts to make the streets and highways safer not only for drivers and their passengers, but also for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

He also knows that the situation is especially challenging in the world's least developed countries.

Two years ago, in his role as philanthropist, he made the largest-ever gift to road safety programmes – $125 million – focusing on the ten low- and middle-income countries that account for nearly half of all road deaths.

I applaud Mayor Bloomberg for his vision and generosity, and I hope that mayors around the world and other philanthropists will join and follow suit. With efforts like his, Mr. Mayor, and with the commitment from others, fewer people would die on the roads and highways.

That is why the United Nations launched yesterday the United Nations Decade of Action on Road Safety yesterday around the world. Our aim now is to kick this campaign into high gear.

Thank you, Mayor Bloomberg, for helping to steer us toward a safer future.