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Slowing down saves lives

© UNICEF Viet Nam\2016\Truong Viet Hung
Mr Tran Van Dien 34 years, picks his nine-year-old son, Tran Van Kha after school at 11 am everyday by motorbike with helmet in Ben Tre.

Hanoi, 25 April 2017 -- Viet Nam will mark the Fourth UN Global Road Safety Week on 8 - 14 May 2017. Launched by the Government of Viet Nam and the United Nations in Viet Nam, the Week will focus on speed and what can be done to address this key risk factor for road traffic deaths and injuries.

Every year the lives of approximately 1.25 million people worldwide are cut short as a result of a road traffic crash. Additionally, between 20 and 50 million more people suffer non-fatal injuries, often resulting in disability and economic hardship as road traffic injuries cause considerable economic losses to victims, their families, and to the country as a whole. According to the National Traffic Safety Committee, in 2016 road traffic accidents claimed nearly 9,000 lives and caused tens of thousands of injuries in Viet Nam, putting a considerable burden on the society through lost or reduced productivity and the cost of treatment for injuries. With over 1,900 children dying every year, road traffic accidents are the second leading cause of death and serious injury for children, behind drowning, accounting for 27 per cent of deaths in the 0-19 age group. Among adolescents aged 15-19, road traffic accidents remain the leading cause of death with 50 per cent.

"Speeding is a major risk factor for road traffic crashes in Viet Nam” said Dr. Lokky Wai, WHO Representative in Viet Nam, highlighting the fact that road traffic injuries are largely preventable. “By slowing down, observing speed limits appropriate for the roads and not speeding, we make the roads safer for all. Reducing the average speed by just 5km per hour can help reduce 30% of fatal crashes” added the WHO Representative.

© UNICEF Viet Nam\2016\Truong Viet Hung
Mr Tran Van Dien 34 years, picks his nine-year-old son, Tran Van Kha after school at 11 am everyday by motorbike with helmet in Ben Tre.

“Every year in Viet Nam the lives of thousands of families are torn apart by the loss of a child to a road accident that could have been prevented,” said Jesper Moller, acting UNICEF Representative. “Our own individual behaviour as road users can have an impact to stem the tide of child road injury. Slowing down as a driver is the first thing that we can do that can save the lives of children.”

The United Nations in Viet Nam calls for setting and enforcing more appropriate speed limits in the country. Specifically, it strongly recommends policy makers to set a 50km/h limit for urban areas and a particular limit of 30km/h for areas where children, pedestrians, cyclists or other vulnerable road users are commonly present, such as residential and schools areas. Consequently, roundabouts and speed humps should be built to support these measures.

WHO and UNICEF collaborate closely with the National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC) and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) to raise awareness and promote firm action against speeding and other major road safety risks.

For more information on the Fourth UN Global Road Safety Week, visit: https://www.unroadsafetyweek.org/en/home

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