Secretary-General's press encounter on distracted driving
New York, 19 May 2010SG: Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen of the media.
I am very pleased to be joined by Ambassador Rice, Ambassador Churkin, Secretary LaHood, and Jennifer Smith. Welcome to the United Nations.
Every year, more than 1.2 million people die on the roads around the world, and as many as 50 million others are injured.
Over 90% of these deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries.
Road accidents are now the top global killer of young people aged 15–.
A number of factors increase the risk.
High speed. Drunk-driving. No seat-belt, child restraint or motorcycle helmet.
We are seeing a major emerging challenge -- driver distraction, mainly by using mobile phones.
Studies indicate that using a mobile phone increases the risk of a crash by about 4 times.
And yet in some countries up to 90% of people use mobile phones while driving.
We must instil a culture of road safety.
A culture in which driving while distracted - on the phone, or text messaging - is unacceptable. Unacceptable in the eyes of the law and the public.
I want every driver in the world to get the message: Texting while driving kills.
No SMS is worth an SOS.
The United Nations is leading by example.
That is why I am issuing an administrative instruction aimed at promoting road safety, saving lives and prohibiting all drivers of UN vehicles from texting while driving.
The UN General Assembly, for its part, has declared a Decade of Action for Road Safety.
I thank the leaders here for being a driving force for road safety.
Together, we have a message to all drivers of the world: Don't let using a mobile for a few seconds make you or others immobile for life.
Thank you very much. I would like to now call on Ambassador Rice.