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UNICEF calls for action on road safety

GENEVA, November 19, 2009 - UNICEF’s Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Steven Allen, has raised the alarm over the number of children killed and injured in road deaths.

“Achieving safety on the road is a challenge and needs a systemic approach that moves away from the idea that children should adapt their behaviour to cope with traffic, to an approach which recognises children’s needs should be addressed in the design and management of road systems,” said Mr Allen.
UNICEF and World Health Organisation(WHO) road safety research indicates:

  • Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among 15-19 year-olds globally and the second leading cause among 5 to 14-year-olds;
  • Approximately 10 million children are injured or disabled, annually, on the road;
  • 93 per cent of child road deaths happen in low and middle-income countries, which have less than half the world’s vehicles.

Mr Allen addressed the ‘First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety: Time for Action’, held in Moscow, on November 19, on behalf of the UNICEF Executive Director, Ann M. Veneman.

UNICEF suggests a number of actions to improve child road safety. They include setting and implementing speed limits and traffic calming measures thereby creating safer environments for children to play; safe school routes including provision of suitable school buses, car-free areas, adult supervision to enable children to cross roads safely and children wearing seat belts in cars.

Recommendations for effective action to improve road safety entail improved and sustained enforcement of comprehensive road safety laws in conjunction with government-backed public awareness campaigns and civil society participation. Given the proven and effective preventative measures employed in more developed countries to improve road safety for children, it is hoped other countries will follow.

This ministerial conference aims to raise the profile of road safety, globally, and will make recommendations to the UN General Assembly. It is hoped the UN Road Safety Collaboration and Global Road Safety Facility, hosted by the World Bank, will provide frameworks for enhanced international collaboration on this important issue.

UNICEF video and high-resolution photography for media organizations is available at: http://www.thenewsmarket.com/unicef

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For more information contact:
Mervyn Fletcher, UNICEF CEE/CIS Communication Officer 
Tel + 41 22 909 5433,
E-mail: mfletcher@unicef.org




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