Sunday, 18 November 2012

UN Secretary General urges action for road traffic victims

To mark today's World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon has issued a statement in which he urges greater efforts to reduce road casualties as part of a global drive for sustainable development.

Mr Ban said: "Earlier this year, the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development emphasized the importance of safe roads. On this World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, let us commit to minimizing road traffic deaths and injuries as part of our quest for an equitable and sustainable future".

What should this mean in practice? It should mean honouring the memory of people like Pedro da Silva Queiroga by designing road transport that puts people first:
 

São Paulo, Brazil. Since a new stretch of Avenue Jacu-Pessego opened, the movement of traffic and heavy vehicles at high speed has increased. So too have the road casualties.

According to local people living alongside the new road, in the first six months of 2011 alone nine people died after being run over on a short section of Jacu-Pessego Avenue . Visiting the communities that straddle Jacu-Pessego it is easy to see how the road has changed – and sometimes ended – lives. Trucks and cars thunder along the six lane highway, separating the poor community on one side from a major local school on the other. Locals feel abandoned, claiming that the city and regional authorities have reneged on promises of pedestrian crossings, walls and tree planting to shield homes and schools from the traffic.
Pedro da Silva Queiroga was aged 15 when he died in September 2011. He had just left home and was crossing the Avenue when he was hit by a car. The authorities were soon on the scene but, according to Pedro’s mother, Ana Patrícia da Silva Queiroga, her son’s body lay in a pool of blood on the road, covered by aluminium foil, for another six hours before he was removed. It was one facet of what Ana Patrícia describes as the ‘disrespect’ shown to the local community by politicians and city bureaucrats. She says: “There is nothing more painful than losing a child. You wake up in the morning and see that your child is not going to wake up with you. You go to sleep at night knowing that he is not coming home”.
 
Road deaths suffered by the community were the catalyst for an outpouring of anger and organised action by local people which resulted in representations to the authorities, demonstrations on the streets and, eventually, the building of a pedestrian bridge connecting homes to the school. It is a bridge that is now used by up to 3000 children every day.

On this World Remembrance Day for Road Traffic Victims the efforts of one community to turn grief into positive action and a fight for justice should serve as an inspiration to us all to do more to advocate for safe and sustainable transport, so other communities do not have to experience the same unnecessary and avoidable tragedies. 

See here to find out more about events taking place around the world today.

3 comments:

  1. Dear Sir/Madam
    I am a bereaved father who has lost two young sons on road accidents within nine months. After the demise of second son, we have been working for reducing road accidents through a memorial foundation (named after the bereaved mom) Laxmi Pratisthan. Till now we have repainted the road dividers of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Kavrepalanchowk districts. We have pasted glowing stickers on the dividers to reduce night time accidents. Like wise, we have been conducting awareness campaigns through Comics Power. College students participate in the campaign and the aim is to reduce fatalities of youths on road. In these three years of our work on the road safety issue, we realized the need of making the drivers to be more competent and obedient to the rules. Thus, currently we have been working on a project of producing 1000 women drivers in Nepal. The first batch of the training has been started from 25th November with 68 participants from the remote villages of Kavrepalanchowk district. The first batch of training is being conducted with our own private initiative but for the rest we are seeking support from across the globe. This is a new initiative that will empower the women, make them competent and responsible. When they march out to the road, the accidents are expected to be reduced to a greater extent.
    I have here attached the detailed proposal along with budget and an appeal. Please find the attachments.

    For more information about our organization, please log on to www.laxmipratisthan.org.

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  2. Thanks for getting in touch. We're very sorry to hear of your tragic loss, and inspired by what you are doing to address road injuries. We didn't receive your attachments detailing the project you are leading. Unfortunately we're not accepting grant applications currently, but please do check back regularly and when we next issue an open call for proposals you'll be very welcome to apply. Good luck with your work!

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  3. Awesome post. Absolutely love this training. I have pretty much being doing this. Thank you very much for your nice post.
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