Making Roads Safer — All Over the World

By Debbie Hersman

Cars on a highway
Today kicks off the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020

Today, people are coming together worldwide to kick off the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. Proclaimed by the United Nations and coordinated through the World Health Organization, the Decade of Action provides a framework for countries and communities to take action to save lives on the world’s roads.

Each year, 1.3 million people die due to road traffic collisions. That’s more than 3,000 each day. Globally, road traffic fatalities are the tenth-leading cause of death. These are staggering numbers.

While here in the United States, highway fatalities have declined the last few years, there were still more than 32,000 fatalities last year, with many more people injured. And, in the United States, as is the case around the world, motor vehicle crashes are leading cause of death for young people.

So many lives cut short underscores the immediate need for action. Walt Disney said it best: “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

At the NTSB we have a host of safety outreach efforts underway. Yesterday, we began a 2-day forum on truck and bus safety. Next month, we are scheduled to announce our new Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements, highlighting critical transportation safety issues. Look for highway safety to be represented!

Yes, it’s a Decade of Action, but every step every day is important. Ensure everyone in your car uses a seat belt – every time. Use a DOT-compliant helmet when you ride a motorcycle. Make sure children are properly restrained. And when you are the driver, hang up the phone. Make good choices.

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