16 May 2021
The United Nations Global Road Safety Week (UNGRSW) is a biennial global road safety campaign hosted by World Health Organization (WHO). It brings together individuals, governments, NGOs, corporations, and other organizations from around the world to raise awareness on road safety and make changes that will reduce the number of roads crashes on the world roads.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1.35 million people die in road traffic crashes every year – that’s one person every 24 seconds. Excessive speed is at the core of the road traffic injury problem, with 1 in 3 deaths on the roads in high-income countries attributed to speed. It is estimated that 40-50% of people drive above the speed limit, with every 1 km/h increase in speed resulting in a 4-5% increase in fatal crashes. The risk of death and injury reduces considerably when speeds are lowered.
As a result of the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, people have devised a means to work from home which has decreased their mobility; however, the fatality numbers still remain as people still drive at higher speeds. These calls for urgent action to ensure people enjoy safe road travel as well as have a healthy and green city. It is for this reason that GreenLight Initiative is calling on road management agencies such as the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to enact and implement a 30km speed limit policy in high risks areas such as school zones, streets, and market corridors.
The theme for the 6th UN Global Road Safety Week is Street for Life – “Love30”. The Week is designed to advocate for 30km speed reduction as well as strengthen the efforts to secure political involvement, commitment, and policy change for low-speed and liveable communities where people walk, play, and live. It’s a call for urgent action on the speeds on our streets, worldwide. This call for action is urgent because it saves lives. It promotes a healthy lifestyle as it helps reduce carbon emissions. It is also urgent for the sake of children and youths as research over the years have shown that they are the most vulnerable to road traffic crashes.
It is also pertinent to note that the World Health Organization (WHO) document on managing speed in line with the Stockholm Declaration and the Global Plan for the new Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 suggests five actions to be carried out to ensure a safe and liveable street for people worldwide. These include establishing speed limits appropriate to the function of each road, enforcing speed limits, building or modifying roads to include features that calm traffic, Installation of in-vehicle technologies, and raising awareness about the dangers of speeding.
To mark this year’s 6th UN Global Road Safety Week 2021 in Nigeria, GreenLight Initiative has partnered with different organizations to implement advocacy campaign programs. These programs seek to highlight the benefits of low-speed streets in urban areas as well as call on policy-makers to limit speeds to 30 km/h on streets where pedestrians, cyclists, and others vulnerable road users mix with traffic. The program further strives to support the attainment of the second Decade of Action 2021-2030 and the Global Road Safety agenda.
GreenLight Initiative (GLI) is a non-profit that strives to improve transportation safety and sustainable development. GreenLight Initiative (GLI) is keen on saving lives through the prevention of violent deaths and injuries. GreenLight is a member of the Global Alliance of NGO for Road Safety and the Global Coalition Youth Coalition for Road Safety.
Simon Patrick Obi, Director, GreenLight Initiative