Expert Calls on World Leaders to Use Global Summit to Make Roads Safer Worldwide

WASHINGTON, DC (Feb. 13, 2020) — A commentary published today in The Lancet calls on government officials attending the 3rd Global Ministerial Summit for Road Safety in Sweden to examine whether current actions to make roadways safer worldwide work.

Adnan Hyder, MD, MPH, PhD, senior associate dean for research and professor of global health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH), authored the commentary. He writes that the summit, to be held on Feb. 19-20, is an opportunity for world leaders to raise awareness of road traffic injuries and deaths, and encourage countries to act to prevent them. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports more than one million people worldwide die every year from road traffic injuries, a number that has remained consistent for 15 years. Millions more people are injured in traffic crashes every year.

“Increasingly, young people in middle- and low-income countries are dying in road traffic crashes, which is very alarming,” Hyder said. “The widespread change that is necessary to solve this problem has not happened, and leaders at the summit have an opportunity to be introspective and understand why our actions have not had global impact.”

In the commentary, Hyder proposes seven questions that ministers of health and transport should be asked at the summit to assess whether plans to decrease road traffic injuries are working and shape future actions. The questions explore how much money is allocated toward road safety efforts; if evidence-based road safety programs have been properly implemented in countries; what data and research has been collected in-country on road traffic injuries and deaths; whether industries like alcohol negatively influence policy actions and education campaigns; and how governments engage with civilians and non-governmental organizations to raise awareness of road safety efforts.

“This summit could serve as an important milestone for monitoring progress related to global road safety across member states of WHO and provide a global forum for charting the way for future partnerships and programs,” Hyder writes in the commentary. “However, this will only happen if a frank and difficult conversation happens and ministers are asked tough questions.”

The commentary, “Another summit on global road safety? Key questions to ask ministers,” was published Feb. 13 in The Lancet.

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