Ambulance passing by the United Nations building in New York City, USA. Photo: UN/Artem Pashchenko
Road traffic crashes are a major cause of death among all age groups and the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5–29 years. The risk of dying in a road traffic crash is more than 3 times higher in low-income countries than in high-income countries.
More than half of all road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. Pedestrians, cyclists, and riders of motorized 2- and 3-wheelers and their passengers are collectively known as "vulnerable road users" and account for half of all road traffic deaths around the world. A higher proportion of vulnerable road users die in low-income countries than in high-income countries.
Since the adoption of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 60/5, the observance has spread to a growing number of countries on every continent.
The Day has become an important tool in global efforts to reduce road casualties. It offers an opportunity for drawing attention to the scale of emotional and economic devastation caused by road crashes and for giving recognition to the suffering of road crash victims and the work of support and rescue services.
In 2008, remembrance services and other related events were held in such countries as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, India, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa, Uganda and the United States, and almost every country in Europe.
A dedicated website was also launched to make the Day more widely known and to link countries through sharing common objectives and the remembrance of people killed and injured in crashes.
Life is not a car part
The theme is based on Pillar 3 of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety – Safer vehicles. Notwithstanding global efforts to the contrary, the type of road mobility that is in place throughout the world still fosters an unbearable number of deaths, serious injuries and illnesses every year, both as the immediate consequence of road traffic crashes and through air pollution.
Why Do We Mark International Days?
International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. More information available here.