The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed a new road safety decade, with more ambitious goals for 2021-2030…

Moving from the various international events which have been held recently on promoting partnerships, know-how and best practices for improving road safety a resolution was submitted and ultimately adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.

The resolution proclaims the period 2021–2030 as the Second Decade of Action for Road Safety, with a goal of reducing road traffic deaths and injuries by at least 50% from 2021 to 2030. The resolution calls upon member states to continue action on all road safety targets including SDGs target 3.6.

Member states are called upon to take action through 40 points of action which comprehensively cover the following and more:

  • Strengthening road safety laws and law implementation;
  • Monitoring and evaluation of road safety laws and implementation;
  • Signing and implementing UN road safety policies, rules and regulations;
  • Integrating road safety in planning;
  • Conducting awareness campaigns on road safety;
  • Strengthening pre-hospital care for road traffic accidents;
  • Providing rehabilitation and care for those who suffer road traffic accidents;
  • Share best practices bilaterally, regionally and internationally;
  • Calls upon member states and all stakeholders to increase investment for road safety.

With the new resolution governments commit themselves to convene a high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly, no later than the end of 2022. With adopting the resolution it was also decided to include in the provisional agenda of its seventy-sixth session the item entitled “Improving global road safety” – meaning road safety issues will be on the agenda of the UN General Assembly in September 2021. The resolution requests the Secretary General to report to the General Assembly at that session on the progress made in the attainment of the objectives of the Second Decade of Action.

The resolutions also invites Member States that have not already done so to consider adopting comprehensive legislation on key risk factors, such as the non-use of seat belts, child restraints and helmets, the consuming alcohol and driving, and speeding – meaning that governments should do more in terms of alcohol policy solutions to prevent road traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities.

Following the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Stockholm in February 2020, Movendi International issued a media release, highlighting the major gap of not including alcohol control measures in the Stockholm Declaration on Road Safety.

Therefore, it is a positive development that the new UNGA resolution includes measures against driving under the influence of alcohol in point 6 of the call to action.

The SAFER technical package of the World Health Organization includes one action area on driving under the influence of alcohol.

Road traffic crashes are a major source of injury, disability and death throughout the world and road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 29 years. Road users who are impaired by alcohol have a significantly higher risk of being involved in a crash. Driving under the influence of alcohol, or drink-driving, is a key risk factor for 27% of all road injuries. Thus, DUI is a significant public health problem that affects not only the alcohol user but also, in many cases, innocent parties such as passengers and pedestrians. Even at low blood-alcohol levels, drivers experience problems with concentration, coordination and identification of risks in the road environment. In addition, at a given blood-alcohol level, road traffic crashes under the influence of alcohol can be more severe or more common when high speed or poor road design are involved. Drink-driving laws and BAC limits have been assessed as effective interventions for NCD prevention.