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Road safety borders on health, development

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The Government of Liberia has described road safety as an urgent health, development matter, noting that number of deaths on the world’s roads remains unacceptably high, with an estimated 1.35 million people killed each year.

Besides, it noted that as many as 50 million people are injured yearly, while road traffic crashes are the eighth leading cause of death globally for people of all ages, and the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5–29 years, respectively. “Road traffic deaths and injuries shatter lives and throw families into poverty.”

Government through its agencies, including the Ministry of Transport and the Public Safety Road Division of the Liberia National Police is to shortly implement road safety road action plans.The government recently attended the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Sweden.

The Liberian delegation to the conference was headed by Transport Minister Samuel Wulue. Minister Wulue asserts that the new studies have put the government technical team on road safety in readiness to start work.

The government delegation, including the Road Safety Secretariat, the Safety Division of the Liberia National Police and the Germany International Service (GIZ) returned here with ideas, experiences and shared knowledge on road safety issues.A statement issued in Monrovia Monday says the next step is implementation of the Road Safety Action Plan – increasing road safety awareness and improving law enforcement on roads in the country.

The Stockholm Declaration is the outcome paper of the conference, which connects road safety to implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It was drafted with input of academic experts as well as multiple road safety stakeholders.

The statement gives a global commitment to halving traffic fatalities worldwide within the next decade. The conference emphasized that road safety can no longer be a separate process but must become a central part integrated into other political goals and processes.

“In an increasingly polarized world, the country needs more collaboration. Road safety is a shared responsibility, crossing borders just as roads do. 50% reduction of deaths and injuries on roads in the next decade – that is the global goal.”

The forum focuses on a lot that must happen in low- and middle-income countries where currently, 90 percent of all road fatalities occur. Liberia as well is heavily burdened with the effects of traffic deaths and injuries on roads – but that can be changed.

Conference outcome encourages drivers to concentrate on key aspects to make roads safer in the country, providing road-worthy vehicles including check lights, tires and brakes regularly, proper road user behavior such as wearing a helmet or seatbelt, proper road maintenance and law enforcement, among others.

“We know that the majority of deaths and injuries in traffic are preventable – so let’s prevent them, we are all called to action,” the statement concludes.
The 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety “Achieving Global Goals 2030” take place in February 2020 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Hosted by the Government of Sweden and co-hosted by World Health Organization, the Ministerial Conference is an opportunity for delegates to share successes and lessons from implementation of the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020, chart future strategic directions for global road safety, and define ways to accelerate action on proven strategies.

The Ministerial Conference also provides an opportunity to link road safety to other sustainability challenges.

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