On September 9th,2019, the Latin American Parliamentary Network for Road Safety was formed, as a result of the efforts promoted by PAHO / WHO to strengthen and harmonize legislation on health and road safety. The Network seeks to share and promote innovative legislative actions that have proven useful in reducing injuries and deaths due to traffic collisions.
The official formation of the Network took place in Asunción, Paraguay, during a two-day meeting attended by parliamentary representatives from Brazil, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Paraguay and Peru, as well as experts from PAHO offices in Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica and Paraguay. Representatives from the Ministry of Health and the National Traffic and Traffic Safety Agency of Paraguay were also in attendance.
The Network is chaired jointly by Deputy Hugo Leal of Brazil and Senator Antonio Barrios of Paraguay and has the sponsorship and technical coordination of PAHO / WHO, represented by the Legal Department and the Department of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health.
The opening ceremony of the meeting included Senator Antonio Barrios, president of the Senate Health Commission; the president of the National Congress, Blás Llano; the Minister of Health, Julio Mazzonleni and Luis Roberto Escoto, PAHO Representative / WHO in Paraguay.
During the course of the two days they discussed the state of road safety in the Region of the Americas, with a legislative emphasis on the diagnosis of the five key risk factors: exceeding speed limits, driving under the influence of alcohol, not wearing a helmet, not wearing a seat belt, and not transporting children safely. The representatives also discussed the situation of mortality due to injuries caused by transit in Paraguay and the impact on the budget of the Ministry of Health; as well as other road safety parliamentary networks in other regions of the world, such as Africa, the Middle East and the globally. The legislative experience in Brazil on alcohol and driving provided ample evidence of the benefits of safe transportation for children and the use of helmets for motorcycle users. Finally, the Save Lives Package, a set of proven evidence measures to promote and improve Road Safety, were presented to parliamentarians.
The creation of the Network of legislators is an excellent opportunity to, with the collaboration of parliamentarians, improve laws and their application, but also call the attention of countries to the urgent need to increase efforts in the implementation of intersectoral measures that include: the improvement of infrastructure, public transportation policies, and the coordination of the work of authorities and control agencies so that these measures are implemented.