Here are a few facts for you:
- About 1.25 million people are killed on the world’s roads each year *
- Up to 50 million more people are injured on the roads, many remaining disabled for life *
- Last year, many countries reported an INCREASE in road traffic fatalities from the previous year
- Global road death and injury has been described by the UN General Assembly as a ‘major public health problem’
There’s one more fact to consider. Road collisions are PREVENTABLE!
So, as we enter a new year, what better time to think about what YOU can do to make the roads safer. Yes, road safety is a problem on an unimaginable scale, and all too often individuals make the mistake of thinking there is nothing they can do to help address the problem. But there is something that we can all do.
We know that 94 per cent of collisions involve human choice or error. This includes the decisions we all make behind the wheel. The decision to use your phone while driving, for example. The decision to press on the accelerator that little bit harder so you’re travelling a few miles over the speed limit. The decision to make that journey even though you know you’re exhausted or still impaired from the night before. You get the picture.
Everything we do behind the wheel matters. And every bad decision we make puts our lives and the lives of other people at greater risk.
So, what can we do? We’re already more than half-way through the Decade of Action for Road Safety. Officially launched on 11 May 2011, the Decade of Action has the goal of ‘stabilising and then reducing’ global road traffic fatalities by 2020.
In some countries there has been progress – The World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015 revealed that 79 countries had seen a decrease in road traffic deaths since 2010. Yet, it also revealed that 68 countries witnessed an increase in road traffic deaths over the same period. In fact, reflecting data from 180 countries, the report indicated that, worldwide, the total number of road traffic deaths had plateaued at 1.25 million per year.
During 2016 we ran several stories on www.onemoresecond.net reporting increases in road traffic fatalities. For example, by 11 October last year, the number of road fatalities in New Zealand during 2016 had exceeded the number of deaths for the whole of 2013.
And in the same month, it was revealed that the year 2015 marked the largest increase in traffic deaths in the U.S. since 1966, and preliminary estimates for the first half of 2016 showed a disturbing upward trend – fatalities were up about 10.4 per cent, compared to the same period of 2015.
Just this month, January 2017, the Irish Road Safety Authority (RSA) released provisional road collision statistics for 2016, indicating a 15 per cent increase in road traffic related fatalities in 2016, compared to 2015.
Although progress is being made towards improving road safety legislation and enhancing vehicle safety, it’s clear that more needs to be done. And, thinking again about the fact that 94 per cent of collisions involve human choice or error, isn’t it time for all of us to think more carefully about the choices we make on the roads? Things like putting off making that phone call until you arrive at the office. Setting up your GPS/sat-nav before you drive. Increasing your following distance by just one more second. Use our Life-Saving Rules of the Road guide as a brief reminder of some of the simple steps you can take to keep yourself and others safe.
If you think you need more than this, why not take eDriving FLEET’s free RoadRISK Assessment? It’s based on eDriving FLEET’s research-validated RoadRISK® tool that has over one million completions across the globe and four large-scale validation studies corroborating its ability to help drivers assess the ‘probability’ or ‘likelihood’ of being involved in an incident or collision. I urge you to try it out to help identify what you can do to help make the roads safer this year.
Do you have any other ideas of how we could make roads safer? Have you taken any action yourself to improve road safety? Have you made any New Year’s resolutions that involve driving?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.