The automobile industry should play a leading role in promoting the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety with an 'opt out' consumers' contribution added to the sale price of each new car in order to fund road injury prevention programmes through the Road Safety Fund, according to a report from the Commission for Global Road Safety published today.
Lord Robertson launches the Make Roads Safe report.
Zoleka and Zindzi Mandela joined Lord Robertson at the event.
South African Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele spoke at the report launch.
The Commission for Global Road Safety is calling for a voluntary levy of $2 (USD) or equivalent, on every new car sold. Customers could choose not to contribute to the 'Driving Safety Initiative' but the Commission anticipates that the vast majority would be willing to pay a relatively small additional cost towards improving road safety.
The UN Decade of Action has been established to combat a growing global public health crisis of road fatalities and injuries. An estimated 1.3 million people each year are killed and 50 million more are injured on the roads. Children are amongst the most vulnerable, with 1000 young people killed every day.
Make Roads Safe: Time for Action is an agenda setting report published one month before the global launch of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. It sets out a series of recommendations to meet the UN goal to 'stabilise and reduce' global road fatalities by 2020. These include: a new emphasis on children's rights to protection from road injury; ensuring road safety features are integrated into road projects; and a strengthening of international leadership of road safety.
The opt-out levy proposed, modelled on similar voluntary arrangements to raise money for other public health epidemics, could raise up to $140 million a year for a sizeable fund to catalyse country level implementation of road safety programmes. The Commission proposes that donations received be managed by the Road Safety Fund to invest in preventative measures to save lives.
The report was launched at a high level meeting at Banqueting House, Whitehall London. Also at the meeting the daughter and granddaughter of Nelson Mandela launched the 'Zenani Mandela Scholarship for Road Safety'. The initiative will be part of the FIA Foundation's Scholarship programme for road safety enabling young leaders in the field to develop their expertise and help improve road safety back in their home countries. The Zenani Mandela Scholarship is targeted at helping a young South African leader in road safety and is named for 13 year old Zenani who was killed in a road crash in 2010.
Speaking at the report launch Zoleka Mandela, the mother of Zenani said:
"Protecting our children must be a lasting legacy of this UN Decade of Action. We begin by recognising that road deaths are preventable. They are a consequence of human neglect and can be prevented by human action. Now is the time for that positive action. Every life we save will be a precious victory", said Zoleka Mandela.
See the report on NelsonMandela.org >
See the New York Times report >