Road safety what works
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Road safety: What works?. Margie Peden Coordinator, Unintentional Injury Prevention Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention World Health Organization. 1.3 million deaths. 20-50 million injuries. The social cost of road traffic injuries is enormous.

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Road safety: What works?

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Road safety: What works?

Margie Peden

Coordinator, Unintentional Injury Prevention

Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention

World Health Organization

1.3 million deaths

20-50 million


The social cost of road traffic injuries is enormous

Road traffic injuries will rise to the 5th cause of death by 2030

Most are vulnerable road users

Road traffic deaths are increasing in LMICs

Road safety should be addressed using a “systems approach”



Road user

Road traffic crashes can be prevented

Road safety is a shared responsibility









What can be done?How can NGOs help

Someone needs to be in charge

  • Implementing a lead agency

    • One department − responsibility − accountability

    • Funding

    • National / local strategies − all crash phases

  • Lobbying by NGOs

    • For such an organization

    • For greater focus on road safety in general

    • Raise funds for road safety

    • Influence the development of strategies with measurable targets

    • Remembering the post crash phase

Collecting data

  • Data is essential to understand

    • Magnitude

    • Prioritization

    • Evaluation

  • NGOs can

    • Assist multisectoral data collection

    • Conduct their own specific studies

    • Assess impact/effectiveness − own programmes

    • Use science-based data to lobby for

      • Infrastructural changes

      • Safety and rights of vulnerable road users

      • Safer public transportation

      • Safety around school/urban areas

    • Personal stories

The story of ONE loved one can move an audience much more than statistics without faces!

Legislation and education TOGETHER – the example of drinking and driving

  • What is LESS USEFUL

    • Education without legislation (billboards!)

    • Buddy programmes

    • Alcohol server programmes

    • Self-testing

    • School instruction

  • What WORKS

    • Minimum drinking age

    • 0.05 g/dl for general public + enforcement

    • Lower than that for novice / commercial drivers

    • Graduated driver licensing systems

    • Random breath testing / police check points

    • Alcohol interlocks

    • Swift and strict penalties

    • Interventions for problem drinkers

    • Restricting sales, increasing taxation

NGOs should lobby for what works

A word on education alone

Education is an important tool to shift social norms towards safer behaviour on the road, but is not a stand-alone road safety intervention

  • Education alone is not a good investment of money

    • Teaching children to cross the road − important skill − doesn’t prevent injuries − may increase exposure

    • School-based driver education − Ineffective − Leads to earlier licensing − increased crash risk

    • No evidence for defensive driving training

    • Mass media must be focused

    • Plays, road shows − sensitize

Advocating for what works

NGOs should lobby for infrastructural changes that

focus on high risk groups and work with the local community to implement proven interventions

  • Law and enforcement of child restraints / seat-belts

    • Appropriate for child's age/size

    • Loan schemes for poorer families

  • Bicycle/motorcycle helmets

    • Law and enforcement

    • Helmet standards

  • Separating road users

  • Increasing visibility

  • Reducing speed around schools, play areas

  • Safer vehicles

Victim support

  • Pre-hospital care

    • Bystander training

    • Access number

  • Acute care − staff − training − equipment

  • Rehabilitation − access

  • Victim services

    • Legal support, justice

    • Family support groups

  • Advocacy events


    • National events

NGO victim groups are best placed to support other survivors and their families, lobby for post crash services and raise awareness through major

advocacy events

Be the change that you want to see in the world.

Mohandas Gandhi

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