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Driving Safety Initiative Launched To Help Reduce Road Accident Casualties

The independent Commission for Global Road Safety on Tuesday in London announced the launch of the Driving Safety Initiative to “help reduce worldwide crash casualties,” the New York Times’ “Wheels” blog reports. 

The initiative calls upon the automobile industry to voluntarily add about $2 to the sale price of new vehicles “to finance a variety of injury prevention programs, to make roads and vehicles safer and to create programs to improve driving behavior and post-crash care,” the blog writes. Though dealers and customers can choose to opt out of paying the contribution, the initiative expects to raise $140 million annually (Mohn, 4/12).

The commission also released a report (.pdf), titled “Make Roads Safe: Time for Action,” which sets an agenda “one month before the global launch of the U.N. Decade of Action for Road Safety,” according to a Make Roads Safe press release. The report “sets out a series of recommendations to meet the U.N. goal to ‘stabilise and reduce’ global road fatalities by 2020,” including “a new emphasis on children’s rights to protection from road injury; ensuring road safety features are integrated into road projects; and a strengthening of international leadership of road safety,” according to the release (4/12).

The WHO estimates that nearly 1.3 million people are killed and approximately 50 million people are injured in road accidents every year.  Bella Dinh-Zarr, the North American director of Make Roads Safe, and director of road safety for the nonprofit FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society, said global road fatalities are “a neglected epidemic,” according to “Wheels” (Mohn, 4/12).

“More than 90 percent of the world’s road deaths occur in low- to middle-income countries, according to [the] WHO,” reports. “As a result of rapid development, many countries have more vehicles, but the infrastructure often cannot keep pace. Roads and vehicles are frequently poorly maintained, and laws, enforcement and driver’s training are often weak,” the news service writes. The article describes the efforts some government officials have taken to create a safer environment on roads in their country (Mohn, 4/11).