In the Americas, more than 50 children die each day from injuries due to traffic incidents. The Third United Nations Global Road Safety Week kicks off on Monday, May 4, with activities promoting road safety for children
Washington, D.C., 4 May 2015 (PAHO/WHO). The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is urging countries and people to adopt 10 key strategies to keep children and youths safe on the road, during the Third UN Global Road Safety Week, on 4-10 May.
The 10 strategies include controlling speed, reducing drinking and driving, using helmets for bicyclists and motorcyclists, restraining children in vehicles, improving children's ability to see and be seen, enhancing road infrastructure, adapting vehicle design, reducing risks for young drivers, providing appropriate care for injured children, and supervising children around streets and roads.
To draw attention to these measures, several countries of the Americas are participating in a range of awareness activities, including the delivery of the "Child Declaration for Road Safety" by groups of children and young people to officials and policymakers.
At the global level, nearly 186,300 children under 18 die from traffic crashes each year—or one child every four minutes. The rate is three times higher in low-income countries. Traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among children 15—17 years old globally. Among those under 19 years who die on the roads, 38% are pedestrians, 36% are vehicle passengers, and 14% are motorcyclists.
In the Americas, some 20,000 children under 19 die every year as a result of road-crash injuries—or more than 50 every day. Traffic injuries are the region's leading cause of death for children 5—14.
"These 10 fundamental strategies need to be implemented in every country of our region to prevent children from dying or being injured in traffic crashes," said Eugenia Rodrígues, PAHO/WHO regional advisor on road safety. "We need to improve and implement better standards and increase enforcement of traffic laws, incorporating child safety issues to ensure that children can move around safely on streets and roads."
One of the goals of this year's Global Road Safety Week is to boost the "SaveKidsLives" campaign by collecting signatures for the "Child Declaration for Road Safety" and to present it to national authorities for their signature.Young people are being invited via social media to participate in the campaign with "#Safie" photographs that show people promoting road safety. The campaign is sponsored by WHO, Youth for Road Safety (YOURS), the FIA Foundation and the Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety, on behalf of the members of the UN Road Safety Collaboration.
The countries of the Americas are participating in the Third UN Global Road Safety Week through a variety of promotional activities, including:
- In Bolivia, presentation of two studies on use of helmets and seat belts. In addition, an interactive CD featuring road safety education and games will be distributed to children, among other activities.
- In Colombia, the ministers of health, transport and education and UN representatives will join the road safety campaign on social networks, and road safety messages will be disseminated.
- In Guatemala, some 500 children will present the Child Declaration to Guatemalan national authorities and celebrate awareness activities in conjunction with nongovernmental organizations, calling for bike lanes and better road safety.
- In Panama, on 6 May, the Child Declaration will be delivered to national authorities and on 7 May, schools will host conversations on road safety with municipal and law enforcement authorities.
- In Paraguay, on 4 May, the "United for Children's Road Safety" campaign will be launched in cooperation with authorities involved in transit safety.
- In Peru, the National Assembly of Regional Governments will hold a special meeting will on 5 May to sign a pledge for children's road safety. The Child Declaration for Road Safety will be presented to national authorities the next day and a children's assembly will be held to review the declaration. By the end of the week, authorities are expected to agree to a draft bill on a road safety plan targeting children, to be approved during the year.
The Third UN Global Road Safety Week focuses on keeping children safe on the road. The week marks a global milestone in the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. This year's campaign seeks to highlight the plight of children on the world's roads and to generate action to better ensure their safety.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) works with the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of the life of its population. Founded in 1902, PAHO is the world's oldest international public health agency. It serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of WHO and is the agency of the Inter-American system that specializes in health.