World Health Day, 2004


Road Safety


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Rather than attempt to achieve full coverage, Drive and Stay Alive has chosen to highlight events, reports and activities that have caught our eye, in order to show a small cross section of what happened to mark this important occasion around the world.


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World Road Safety Day

April 7, 2004

Road traffic injuries are a deadly scourge, taking the lives of 1.2 million men, women and children around the world each year. That equates to around 3,300 people killed in road crashes every single day -- more than two a minute.


Hundreds of thousands more are injured on our roads, some of whom become permanently disabled. 


The vast majority of these casualties occur in developing countries, among pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and users of public transport, many of whom would never be able to afford a private motor vehicle.


But the problem isn't confined to developing countries; both the USA and the European Union, alone, each witness over 40,000 road deaths a year.



For the WHO press info' on the importance of this day, click here.








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Click here or on the logo to go to the

WHO World Health Day web page


At there is an

interesting article on how the

World Health Organisation works

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"Road traffic injuries are a global problem affecting all sectors of society. To date, road safety has received insufficient attention at the international and national levels. This has resulted in part from: a lack of information on the magnitude of the problem and its preventability; a fatalistic approach to road crashes; and a lack of the political responsibility and multidisciplinary collaboration needed to tackle it effectively. However, much can be done to reduce the problem of road crashes....."

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan


Click here to view the UN's April 2004 actions on global road safety.


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The UK organization, RoadSafe, provided an excellent insight into one of the purposes of World Health Day and this year's coverage of road safety. Unwittingly, in the third paragraph below, they also touched upon something our own small organization -- Drive and Stay Alive, Inc. -- is working to achieve, when they wrote:

     "It is clear that road safety offers an opportunity for a wide range of stakeholders to actively engage in addressing the global problem of road accidents, deaths and injuries. Previous efforts by governments and donors to try to improve road safety in developing and transitional countries have had limited success and many interventions simply have not been financially or institutionally sustainable.
     "Whilst it is really up to governments to take a lead in introducing strategies which will work in their own countries, there are many officials and non government organisations working to make things better in the developing world already. What they often lack is information and inspiration; here the UKs road safety professionals can really help.

     "The world may seem a big place from our offices and we may well be working flat out to make our own budgets stretch to meet our local goals, but why should we not look a little further and perhaps exchange a few ideas with others from distant lands?"


If you haven't already done so, please visit Drive and Stay Alive's international "Road Safety In The News" web page. It's where we, at DSA, try to facilitate an exchange of some of those ideas.


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Fédération Internationale 

de l'Automobile


The world of international motor sport is calling for safer roads. 


Formula 1 multiple world champion Michael Schumacher joined forces with the FIA Foundation and transport ministers from across the European Union at a signing ceremony in Dublin, Ireland, for the new European Road Safety Charter.


FIA President Max Mosley and Michael Schumacher are key note speakers at the launch of the Charter, which calls on governments, companies and organisations across the European Union (EU) to make a firm and measurable commitment to improve road safety. The EU has a target of reducing road deaths by 50% by 2010.


For their comments, and more details of the event, click here.


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African Continent


     It was no accident that the World Health Organisation chose to launch the African 2004 World Health Day in Nairobi on April 7, wrote John Rugoiyo. According to WHO, it chose the Kenyan venue because of the fact that out of the 46 WHO member states in the African region, only Kenya is implementing a road traffic policy to improve road safety.

     Such accolade must be music to the ears of the Ministry of Transport and Communications officials in Nairobi, and especially the minister, John Michuki, who was criticised by a wide cross section of Kenyans – including this writer – when he first came up with the road safety campaign late last year.

     Statistics from WHO show that road traffic accidents kill nearly 1.2 million people around the world every year. Despite this carnage, described by a road safety expert as akin to "state-sanctioned genocide on a global scale," traffic deaths have been largely neglected as a health issue. This has been due to the view of many that accidents are events that are beyond people’s control.

     WHO is now telling the world that the risks are known and traffic deaths are largely preventable. These risks include speeding, drunk driving, non-use of proper restraints such as seatbelts and helmets and poor road design. WHO also cites the problem of poor enforcement of road safety regulations, unsafe vehicle design and poor emergency health services as also contributing to the global epidemic of road deaths.

     The Third World – the middle-income and low-income countries as the World Health Organisation is now calling it – is where most road deaths occur. This is despite the fact that the vast majority of the world’s cars are in the high-income countries. Yet only 10 per cent of the road deaths occur in these countries.

     Africa has very few cars relative to the rest of the world, yet it is Africa that has the worst road death record – 28.3 per 100,000 people. Europe, despite the very high number of vehicles, has less than half the rate of death, at 11 per 100,000 people. WHO has alerted the world that nine out of every 10 people killed in road accidents are now from low or middle-income countries.

Read the full article here, from The East African, and Kenya's Daily Nation.

John Rugoiyo is a an insurance assessor based in Nairobi


(Also see Angola, Cameroon, Lesotho and Nigeria, below, plus Angola and Malawi on our main news page, for April 7, 2004.)



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Angola has conditions to create a multisectorial partnership whose priority would be the elaboration of adequate strategies for road traffic safety and prevention, considered today in Luanda the representative of the World Health Organisation to Angola, Paolo Balladelli.


The UN's official made this statement at the central act that marked one more anniversary of the World Health Day, which is taking place under the theme "Road safety does not come by chance".


Mr Balladelli added that if we join efforts by tackling the factors that improve the road signs and conservation, the compliance with the rules in passengers and load transportation, the regulation of alcoholic drinks, high speed, the maintenance of vehicles and the training of drivers, we would avoid the loss of more lives.


Angola's Health Minister Albertina Hamukwaya said that many road accidents that happen in the country have to do with over speed and driving after drinking or drugs.

[Source: Angola Press Agency, Luanda]



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The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons made several recommendations to coincide with World Health Day, including:

  • Drivers over 70 should have their licences checked every two years 

  • Party hosts need to take more responsibility for drink or drug-taking drivers, if not legally then morally and ethically
  • Bullbars should be banned in metropolitan areas except with a special permit 
  • Central high-mounted brake lights (a.k.a. "CHiMBraLs" or "CHiMSeLs" should be mandatory on all newly registered vehicles.

RCAS Trauma Committee chairman Associate Professor Peter Danne said 600 road deaths could be prevented every year if the policy was implemented.


"This country is way ahead of a lot of others in terms of road safety but there is still more that we can do," he said.


Along with better public transport, improved roads and appropriate speed limits, the policy also outlined:

  • The establishment of a national trauma institute

  • Mandatory breath testing of all people in a road accident

  • Alcohol ignition interlocks in all commercial vehicles and in those of convicted drink-drivers

  • Mandatory cancellation of licences for drivers exceeding the speed limit by 30km.

Source:  The Courier Mail, Queensland.



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     Bangladesh... has one of the highest fatality rates, higher than 73 deaths per 10,000 (sic) [registered vehicles?]. This accounts for a whopping loss of Tk 15 billion every year. Such deaths often ruin whole families and the maimed and crippled ones barely exist (not live) on the margins of society and economy. Even the statistics may not reflect the true magnitude of this epidemic of the new century almost rivaling the HIV affliction. This apprehension comes from lack of documentation and underreporting of accidents.

     We are adept in compiling and disseminating statistics, but apparently not in acting on them. Perhaps, we like to rest content with sharing the urgency that the data analysis brings to the fore thinking that our commitment has been demonstrated after all. This attitude must go. There must be a hands-on approach, as distinguished from an academic one, on the part of national governments to enhance road safety by all possible means.

     We have to make the right start in preventing road accidents. Do we realise that 53 per cent of road accident victims are pedestrian and that this could go up to 70 per cent in the near future? It is a daily sight for anyone in the street that pedestrians and vehicles pass each other by whiskers. So, all street users have to be sensitised about adhering to road safety rules. The recommendations of action research relating to inclusion of traffic safety precautions in school curriculum, capacity building in NGOs and communities, and the launching of an awareness campaign on a sustainable basis, merit attention and implementation.

Full article here, from The Daily Star



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The small but stunningly beautiful Himalayan country of Bhutan had a radical answer to the problem of road casualties but unfortunately the web link was inoperative and we were unable to obtain any further details:

Thimphu : 7 April 2004 - The road safety and transport authority in collaboration with the IECH and traffic police observed a "no vehicles day"....!



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     In Brazil, traffic crashes -- which experts prefer not to call accidents because most can be prevented -- claim more than 30,000 lives and leave more than 300,000 people injured each year. Of the injured, 90,000 to 120,000 are left permanently disabled in some way, said urban planner Nazareno Stanislau Affonso, vice-president of the National Public Transport Association (ANTP).

     It does not make sense to manufacture vehicles capable of reaching 200 km per hour, if the maximum speed on Brazil's highways is 120 kph, and in traffic-congested cities like Sao Paulo cars move at an average of less then 20 kph, Affonso told IPS in an interview.

     The automotive industry and governments must also share responsibility for traffic mortalities, because they manufacture and authorise the circulation of vehicles that can travel at speeds above the maximum limit -- turning them into lethal weapons, say activists and officials.

Read the full article, from IPS


(Also see South America, below.)



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     In 2002 alone, 45 people in the Sultanate were killed in road accidents, making it the 6th cause of death in the country. The estimate for [the rate of] road deaths is 12.6 for every 100,000 residents, and that the toll is parallel to that of developing nations.

     Pehin Dato Haji Awang Abu Bakar, Minister of Health, touched on the issue in an address at the World Health Day 2004 celebration.

     The event carried the theme "Road Safety Is No Accident", and this theme underlines road safety that requires planned efforts by the government and other related sectors and that it does not happen on its own.

     Aside from causing millions of deaths and injuries annually, pollution due to motorisation also [contributes] to respiratory diseases, making users less inclined to take up physical activities, hence leading to obesity and other ill health.

[Source: Radio Television Brunei, via BruneiDirect]



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     On the occasion of World Health Day, Public Health and Transport Ministers yesterday talked on measures taken to reduce road accidents...

     To curb the rate of road accidents in the country, the minister said that community highway codes have been designed and adopted by the road safety commission of his ministry. The codes include regular alcohol tests conducted on drivers, the banding of the use of mobile phones by drivers on highways, installation of speed breaks, inspection of vehicles roadworthiness at major transport agencies and regular media campaigns to educate the ordinary road users. He said the commission is expected to demolish unauthorised motor parks, continue the hunt for fake driver licences and dish out appropriate sanctions against defaulters. "The recent appointments in the Ministry of Transport were also aimed at punishing staff who were involved in the racketeer of fake driver licences," the minister revealed. He also announced that the measures have led to a marked drop in the rate of road accidents since November 2003...

Full story, from AllAfrica



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Statement from Peel Regional Police, Ontario:

     World Health Day is about education and awareness, not enforcement. Research has determined that drivers and passengers who are not properly buckled in account for 40% of those killed in motor vehicle crashes. Our focus therefore, will be to encourage all citizens to wear their seat belts. More specifically, we are focusing our efforts on protecting our most precious commodity, children.

     On World Health Day, Peel Regional Police will be working with the Peel Car Seat Safety Committee to enhance the safety of children in passenger vehicles. Studies have shown that up to 80% of the children in child restraint devices are not properly secured. The problem is usually caused by a lack of knowledge on the part of the child care giver. We need to reduce the risk.

Full article here, together with times and locations of car seat clinics, etc., from CNW Telebec (French version available)




In British Columbia, in an average year, there are 419 fatalities: 110 caused by drinking and driving and 153 caused by aggressive driving; 158 fatalities are unbelted; and 57 pedestrians are killed. (Some fatalities are combinations of the above causes)


CNW Telebec have taken the excellent step of providing a list of contacts to whom the media may speak about World Health Day in relation to the B.C. road crash situation. Those details may be found here.



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"The European Union believes that saving human lives through an effective road safety policy is a difficult challenge, but also a moral obligation for all member states."

Ambassador Aldo Mantovani, Representative of Italy to the United Nations, speaking on behalf of the European Union


On April 7th -- World Health Day for Road Safety -- Polis, Access Cities Network and the City of London are organising  the signing ceremony of the European Road Safety Charter by the first 35 European local authorities. The event will take place in the city hall and will be followed by the presentation of the European Road Safety Awards and presentations for best practices.  [Click here for the Polis commitment to the European Road Safety Charter]


TISPOL (an association of senior representatives from the traffic police departments of Europe) will participate In World Health Day by conducting a Europe-wide seat belt campaign.



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One of the best quotes, for World Health Day, was made by French President Jacques Chirac:


"In every accident, it is people who kill lives, by negligence, by imprudence, by disobeying highway codes, or by indifference to others. Our enemy is the fatality.

It is not the road nor the cars that are killers."




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Hong Kong


The Road Safety Council with the Department of Health and the Social Welfare Department have announced that a large-scale road safety campaign will be launched this summer in Hong Kong.


Chairman of the Road Safety Campaign Committee under the Road Safety Council Lawrence Yu said that the World Health Organization (WHO) has devoted World Health Day 2004, which falls on Wednesday, to road safety.


Despite Hong Kong's road safety record being relatively good compared to other cities, the Road Safety Council has attached great importance to educating drivers and pedestrians, he said.


He noted that every fatal road accident costs the government nearly 2 million HK dollars (256,000 US dollars).


Yu also pointed out that in 2003, pedestrians accounted for 49 percent of the death toll and 70 percent of the fatalities involved pedestrians aged over 60.

[Source: China View at Xinhuanet]



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FIA have guidelines that could be used by any automobile club


SAFE KIDS Worldwide member countries China, Philippines, South Korea and Brazil are planning pedestrian safety events to be held on March 30, 2004. These events will highlight the hazards children face every day on their way to school and demonstrate ways to prevent child pedestrian injuries.  FedEx Express and the Alcoa Foundation are generously supporting these events in the Asia Pacific region and Brazil this year.



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     Road traffic crashes of all types are an enormous, largely overlooked world health problem, second only to childhood infections and AIDS as the killers of people between the ages of 5 and 30, according to a major report released today...

     In terms of human life: Since 1948, 21,600 Israelis have died in wars and security-related incidents; 22,700 have died on its roads...

     137 Israelis have been killed on the roads since the beginning of [this] year – more than 10% above last year's figure. Figures such as these place Israel in the top bracket of casualties per cars, along with other third world countries...

     A senior police official said that were it not for budgetary restraints, they could lower the figures by 30 to 40%, but the finance ministry is not prepared to give higher priority to fighting traffic accidents.

     Speaking on Army Radio Wednesday morning, police traffic division head Cmdr. Yaakov Raz said that Israel's high placing in the world roster is unfair, since the ration should be accidents per kilometers traveled – placing Israel in a "good" position in the middle, after Greece, Spain and other European countries.

     However Traffic expert Dr. Moshe Becker says police are usually in a hurry to report enforcement-related achievements, and their numbers are suspect. Becker claims that the number of annual casualties is five times higher than what police are prepared to admit, and bases his reports on insurance claims rather than reported accidents.

Read the full article, from the Jerusalem Post Online



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The Lesotho Red Cross Society and the Maluti Mountain Brewery (MMB) to will devise  a programme for the day. Although the venue for the celebrations is yet to be decided, there has been suggestions that it be held in Leribe. The preparatory meeting would make a decision and work with the District Secretary to finalise matters, said WHO information officer, Mr. Malekele Phori. (January 24, 2004)

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A perceptive article by Dzullkifli Abdul Razak


Amidst the preoccupation about violence in schools, cases of indiscipline during the National Service programme and the contentious issues regarding the measles vaccine, the World Health Day passed almost unnoticed last week.


Malaysians it seemed had too much on their plates to be reminded of another devastating unresolved issue — road safety. This year's theme for the World Health Day is "Road Safety is No Accident". It is very appropriate for Malaysians since many of our road tragedies are indeed "no accident".


"Despite enormous improvement in road safety in some countries over the past few decades, nearly 1.2 million people are killed every year in road traffic crashes around the world," said UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. This is more than 3,000 deaths every day. In addition, between 20 and 50 million are injured annually.

This is definitely a horrendous increase since the first recorded road accident that occurred in London on Aug 17, 1896. It involved a car, newly manufactured by the Anglo-French car company. At the inquest, the coroner declared that this must not happen again. But it is a sad situation today.


By 2020, when Malaysia achieves developed nation status, the overall global figures for road traffic deaths and disabilities will rise by nearly two-thirds.

It would be interesting to see whether by then Malaysia's transport system will be at par with its developed nation status. Or will it languish in the Third World mess as we know it today.

No doubt the journey out of the Third World mindset can be a long bumpy ride ahead, but not if we know for sure the road that leads towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

Full article here, from the New Straits Times

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New Zealand


Calendar of New Zealand events relating to World Health Day and the rest of the year


In Palmerston North City Council Chambers, two videos will be shown on April 7: '2040: A message from the future,' and 'Street Reclaiming – How to get your street back.'   "These are both thought-provoking videos to encourage us all to view our streets as much more than just a carriageway for cars."  Details.



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The WHO estimates that almost 16,000 people die from injuries sustained in road mishaps [in Nigeria, each year, and] several thousands more end up with non-fatal injuries and permanent disabilities.


Nigeria is joining the rest of the world to mark World Health Day (WHD) as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This year's theme entitled "Road Safety is no Accident" is dedicated to response to a growing concern about road traffic injuries.


The theme is significant for a number of reasons. It is a worrisome development that the incidence of death and injury as a result of road accidents is growing day by day.


Fatal road accidents are on the rise in Nigeria. With one of the highest road traffic accident rates in the world, accidents and injuries are the major cause of death in adults under fifty years in the country. This is a sad fact. Every year, thousands of people are killed on the roads, the highest numbers being recorded in the commercial capital of Lagos.


Statistics from the Nigeria Police show that the number of people killed in road accidents had risen by more than 150 per cent in 43 years. The figures, spanning 1955-1998, indicate that 489 people died in 1955 compared to 6,500 in 1998. Statistics for the injured are even more staggering in the 43 years, rising from 4,289 persons in 1955 to 17,117 persons in 1998.

Full article, from The Vanguard (Lagos), via



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MUSCAT — His Highness Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said, deputy prime minister for the Council of Ministers, presided over a forum on road accidents at Al Bustan Palace Hotel on April 8. The forum was organised by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to mark World Health Day.


In a statement to the press, Sayyid Fahd affirmed there was great response to His Majesty the Sultan’s initiative on road safety, which the Sultanate proposed to be included on the agenda of the UN General Assembly.


In an address at the opening ceremony of the forum, Dr Ali bin Mohammed bin Moosa, minister of health, said the Sultanate appreciated the decision by WHO regional office for the East Mediterranean to choose the Sultanate as the venue for the region’s World Health Day celebrations...


The minister said the number of injuries [in Oman] ranged from 13,000 to 17,000 cases annually between the years 1999 and 2002. Around 30 per cent to 45 per cent of those injured were hospitalised and that accounted for between 2.3 per cent and 3 per cent of the total number of patients admitted to hospital during the same period. Reported road deaths during that period were between 472 and 604 cases and that was 7 per cent to 10 per cent of the total deaths in the Sultanate.

The minister said compared to the international rates of death from road accidents during that period the death rates in the Sultanate, which stood at 25.8 to 35 per 100,000 persons, was among the highest death rates in the world.

At the world level 19 deaths occurred per 100,000 people and in the industrial countries the rate was 12 deaths among every 100,000 people...


[Full article, from the Times of Oman]



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Today is World Health Day, officially celebrated annually by the World Health Organization on April 7. This year, the WHO is devoting World Health Day entirely to road safety.


The timing is just perfect. The day coincides with the yearly exodus of motorists heading out to the provinces for the Holy Week, just the right time to remind them of the importance of road safety.


Ford Group Philippines joins this circle of serendipity for safety by kicking off its road-safety campaign at the same period. Ford says this is part of a global effort of Ford Motor Co. “to reinforce its commitment to occupant and pedestrian safety through a series of events and road-safety initiatives planned for the year aimed at reducing accidents, death and injuries caused by road- traffic collisions.”...


According to the WHO, although the number of motor vehicles per population is much higher in developed countries, the toll due to road-traffic injuries is highest in developing countries representing more than one million or 88 percent of deaths in 1998. Read this interesting article here, from ABS-CBN.



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To highlight Scotland's commitment to the day, the Scottish Road Safety Campaign are arranging for a baton to visit all areas in Scotland. This baton contains a document stating a commitment to supporting World Health Day which will be signed by key representatives from local authorities, police forces and health boards. The baton will be sent on its way from Meadowbank Stadium by Olympic athlete Yvonne Murray and will finish its journey on World Health Day at Hampden Park Stadium in Glasgow on April 7th.  More info >>  





Mark Lazarowicz -- Member of Parliament for Edinburgh North and Leith -- has written an article about what is needed in order to increase road safety in Britain and elsewhere, in relation to World Health Day and beyond. This is a highly informative insight; don't miss it!



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On the occasion of the World Health Day, a meeting was held at the Belgrade City Hall, gathering representatives of the Serbian ministries of interior, health, and capital investment, as well as of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Belgrade City Assembly.


Statistical data on road accidents in Serbia are alarming - the number of crashes increased from 27,000 in 1992 to 60,000 in 2002. In the same period, the number of injured rose from 16,000 to 20,000, while an average of 1,500 deaths are registered each year. Of that number, 75 percent are [under] 30 years old.


Serbian Minister of Health Tomica Milosavljevic said that it is high time that Serbia started to deal with this issue, because the number of road crashes has doubled in the last ten years. He said that the road safety is a shared responsibility, calling for expertise of health workers, law enforcement officials, the local self-government, as well as the government which must acknowledge that this is a multisectoral problem which has to be resolved with joint efforts.


Head of the Traffic Police Directorate of the Serbian Ministry of Interior Colonel Stojadin Jovanovic said that the Directorate will focus on the prevention of road traffic accidents by conducting preventive campaigns.

[Source: Serbian Government website]

The Serbian Government used this WHO image to good effect. Look carefully at the broken lines

Click here to see it enlarged (as a WHO report cover)







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 *  April 4, 2004:   Among smaller nations, the Seychelles is another where the Road Safety message of World Health Day is being heard.

     The front cover of the Seychelles Nation (left) carries this year's slogan, loud and clear, and it includes this snippet of salient advice:

     "Of course there are the unlucky ones who meet that careless driver in situations and circumstances [where] they cannot avoid colliding with them, but on the whole, we are much safer if we remain alert and sober when driving..."



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South America


     In its 'World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention' released ahead of World Health Day, which is celebrated Apr. 7, the World Health Organisation (WHO) points out that low- and middle-income countries accounted for 90 percent of traffic crash fatalities in 2002, despite the proportionally smaller number of cars than in high-income nations.

     The 1998 `Review of Traffic Safety - Latin America and Caribbean Region' funded by the Inter-American Development Bank reported that Uruguay had one of the highest rates of deaths per 10,000 motor vehicles -- 33.4 -- in Latin America and the Caribbean, ranking in fourth place after Venezuela (58.4), Colombia (54.9), and Belize (34.2).

(Also see Brazil, above.)


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UK  (also see 'Scotland')


The UK Department for Transport has today published the First Review of the Government's Road Safety Strategy to coincide with World Health Day, which this year is focussing on the global road safety challenge.


The review charts the progress to date on achieving the Government's road safety targets and shows that in the first three years of the strategy there has been:

  • a 17% drop in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads, and

  • a 33% reduction in the number of children killed and seriously injured.

The strategy review highlights the areas where real successes in road safety have been achieved. These include:

  • Banning the use of hand-held mobile phones,

  • The national roll out of safety cameras following the pilot which showed a 35% reduction in killed and seriously injured,

  • The introduction of the hazard perception test to the driving test,

  • The good recognition and success of the Think! branding, with recognition by about 7 in 10 of all drivers and 9 in 10 of drivers aged 16 - 24,

  • The significant reductions seen in pedestrian and cyclist casualties,

  • The new Local Transport Plan process, which allows local authorities to adopt a longer-term approach and more flexibility in delivering the strategy and casualty reductions at the local level,

  • The continuing effectiveness of Local Safety Schemes, where local authorities estimate that those delivered in 2002-03 alone would save nearly 5,000 casualties.

It also details the areas which will require continuing attention as the strategy develops. These include:

  • The [overall] number of deaths which has not fallen significantly since 1998,

  • The number of car occupant deaths

  • The number of motorcyclist deaths and injuries,

  • The rise in drink-drive related deaths and injuries.

  • Engaging more employers to develop at work road safety policies for employees who drive at work

Road safety Minister David Jamieson said, "The Road Safety Strategy provided a challenging set of targets for casualty reduction and I am delighted with the progress we are making. There are many people alive and well today who would otherwise have been injured or even killed.

     "I am particularly pleased with the progress we are making on reducing child death and injury, which is already down 33%. But we are not complacent. Road safety is everyone's responsibility and we need to continue to make all road users aware of how they can contribute to making our roads safer for everyone. We have to concentrate our efforts on the areas which we've identified as needing further attention - with further reducing deaths and motorcyclist and drink-drive casualties presenting a challenge we must tackle.

     "We have a good road safety record in the UK, but we strive constantly to improve it. We have some very good practices which we are sharing around the world to reduce the high levels of road casualties in other countries.

     "Globally, road safety ranks among the major killers. But many of these deaths are preventable and we all need to make a concerted effort now to ensure that the worrying predictions in the rise of road deaths and injuries doesn't become a reality."



Source:  Dept. for Transport News Release (037) issued by the Government News Network on 7 April 2004




RoadSafe have announced that the UK launch of World Road Safety Network will take place at a Department for Transport conference on World Health Day.  Full text here




The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) has created a Compendium of Road Safety Activity in the UK (on World Health Day)




To mark World Health Day, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) has published an evaluation of progress towards the 2010 targets (those targets representing a reduction of a further 40% in the annual fatalities on Britain's roads). Click here to view the pdf.



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United States of America


If all motor vehicle occupants in the USA consistently wore safety belts, at least 9,000 American lives would be saved each year and 160,000 non-fatal injuries would be prevented. Medical costs due to motor vehicle-related injuries in the United States exceeded $21 billion in 2000. Globally, the economic burden is enormous, with road traffic injuries costing $518 billion annually. 

[Source: AAA Washington/Inland; April 5, 2004]


To coincide with World Health Day, there will be a briefing at the Pan American Health Organization, today, on a new report on road safety, and the prevention of traffic injuries.

[Venue: Pan American Health Organization, 525 23rd Street NW, Washington, DC; 9:30 am on Wednesday, April 7.]

This will involve experts from the Pan American Health Organization, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Transportation, the World Bank, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the American Automobile Association, and other organizations.




The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety urges everyone to do the following things:

1. Wear your seat belt no matter where you are seated in the vehicle. If you are driving, be alert for pedestrians and cyclists!

2. Take the brief AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety online quiz, "Seat Belts: Do you buckle up as often as you should?" The direct link to the survey is BeltPoll

3. Go to for World Health Day posters in English or Spanish, printable at 8 1/2 x 11 inches. Spread the word about road safety by displaying them at your school, office, or other public place.

4. Wear a 'Lectric Lime ribbon on April 7 to celebrate the gains we have made and how much more we can still do in preventing traffic injuries and deaths. ('Lectric Lime green is a visible color used in signage and by the students in the AAA School Safety Patrol.)




The Governors Highway Safety Association's Chair, Kathryn Swanson, has said:  "It gives GHSA great pleasure to support World Health Day 2004. Too often, highway safety is a forgotten public health issue. The focus that this international effort brings to roadway safety will help bring this issue into the public's consciousness. Losing more than 40,000 of our friends and neighbors each year in traffic crashes is simply unacceptable. As a nation and an international community, we must act to greatly reduce these completely preventable losses. State Highway Safety Offices mark this date by doing the type of critical activities they do year-round-keeping the public safe by enforcing speed limits, getting drunk drivers off the roads and strongly encouraging the public to buckle up. Additionally, special events are planned to draw increased attention to highway safety."


View those special events, on a state-by-state basis, here.




MADD is joining with WHO and the Pan American Health Organization in the kick-off of World Health Day 2004, to help focus international attention on issues of traffic safety, including alcohol-related crashes, which account for 41 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States. See the MADD press release here.




From the NCIPC, there are guidelines on Things You Can Do in Your Community



The observance of Crash-Free June in the United States will follow the April 7, 2004 observance of World Health Day. More



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Viet Nam


At a meeting jointly held on April 6, by the Ministry of Health, Ha Noi authorities and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to mark the World Health Day (Apr. 7), it was reported that in 2003, Ha Noi's road accidents were reduced by 541 cases thanks to measures taken to ease urban congestion. 


Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has reiterated the Government's commitment to curb road accidents in Viet Nam.


Deputy PM Dung appealed "people of social strata to seriously implement resolutions and directives of Party, National Assembly and the Government on curbing traffic accidents and easing traffic jams".


Raising awareness, changing behaviour patterns together with improving road networks conditions are considered key in this year's plan to curb accidents.

[Source: VNA]



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     Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Health Day, with the government declaring road accidents as one of the health issues the government is grappling with.

     "The numerous injuries caused by road accidents are adding to the overwhelming disease burden in our health sector. This should not be so because accidents can be prevented," Brian Chituwo, minister of health, said here Wednesday during the commemoration ceremony whose theme is "Road Safety is No Accident."

     The minister has called for a multi-sectoral approach to tackle the problem instead of letting it become a health burden.

     According to government statistics, road accidents in Zambia have now reached an alarming rate. Last year, about 21,692 road accidents occurred throughout the country leading to 1,046 deaths. Furthermore, 2,696 people were critically injured while 5,846 people had slight injuries.

     Among the major causes of road accident in Zambia include inappropriate and excessive speed among motorists, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs as well as the poor state of the roads.

     The measures the government is putting in place include introducing alcohol testing equipment for drivers, increasing the minimum age at which one can obtain a public service vehicle endorsement license, among others.

[Source: Xinhuanet]



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The United Nations



Report from the Seminar on Aggressive Driving Behaviour

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe 

Palais des Nations, Geneva

April 5, 2004


Click here



United Nations General Assembly Meeting

New York City


April 14, 2004


In this historic meeting, twenty-seven speakers from each corner of the globe addressed The General Assembly about road safety. Speakers such as World Health Organization Director-General, Dr. Lee Jong-Wook, Ireland Transport Minister Seamus Brennan, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, and impassioned leaders of governments and societal sectors worldwide voiced unique perspectives and a collective commitment to change.


A Resolution to improve global road safety was introduced by Yousef bin Alwai Bin Abdullah, the Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs of Oman. This resolution was adopted by consensus, without requiring a vote.


View the UN webcast of this meeting


View the webcast of the Press Conference with Dr. Lee Jong-Wook, Director-General of the World Health Organization; Dr. Jeffrey W. Runge, Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, and Karla Gonzalez, former Vice-Minister of Transport, Costa Rica.



During this remarkable debate, on 14th April, the World Health Organization was given the role of coordinating the response of the UN system to the global road safety crisis that is killing more than 1 million people each year.


Working with the UN’s regional commissions and agencies, such as the World Bank and UNICEF, WHO will provide the much needed focal point for improving the international community’s approach to road safety. The decision is also an achievement for the FIA Foundation which, since organising a major international conference on global road safety in February 2003, has pushed for a single ‘lead’ agency within the UN system. Two policy papers submitted by the Foundation to the UN during 2003 and 2004 promoted the idea of a lead agency and called for a role for UN regional commissions. Working with a coalition of UN agencies and other bodies in a global road safety steering group, under the leadership of Oman’s Ambassador to the UN, Fuad Al Hinai, the FIA Foundation has also encouraged support for a UN resolution which was finally approved by the UN General Assembly.


Download a copy of the UN road safety resolution document (pdf)





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Finally, on this auspicious day the World Health Organization and The World Bank jointly launched the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention:


Click here (or on image) to access the report that is the culmination of World Health Day, 2004



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