Global Road Safety Crisis - Statement by Iceland
Mr. Jón Erlingur Jónasson
Deputy Permanent Representative
GA66 / 106th plenary meeting
Global Road Safety Crisis
19 April 2012
On 2 of March 2010, The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution by which it proclaimed the period 2011-2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety, with the goal to stabilize and reduce the level of road traffic fatalities around the world. The resolution before us today follows up on that resolution with a number of important actions aimed at improving and strengthening road safety data collection, implementation of new car assessment programmes and improving road management systems.
Road safety is a common problem to all states. With an estimated cost of 500 billion USD and 1.3 million deaths a year, estimated to reach close to 2 million deaths annually in 2020, the impetus for action is clear.
In the context of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, Iceland is in the process of developing a national plan for the Decade to complement the current national road safety strategy for 2011-2022. The Icelandic action plan is based on the five pillars of national activities in line with the Global Plan: road safety management, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, safer road users, and post crash response, taking into account the specific road safety situation in Iceland.
Real results can be made. In Iceland we have managed to half the number of road traffic deaths during the last decade, from an average of 25 deaths a year in 2002-2006 to an average of 13 deaths in 2007-2011. This makes Iceland the European country with the least number of fatalities per capita and vehicle.
We also need to look at those that survive and are left with serious injuries. Allow me to highlight one serious injury in relation to traffic accidents which my government is committed to raise awareness and understanding of, both nationally and internationally.
Almost half of those that acquire spinal cord injuries do so in traffic accidents. It is estimated that between 4 and 5 million people around the world now live with spinal cord injuries and most of those are between the ages of 20-40.
The government of Iceland has supported the Institute of Spinal Cord Injury in Iceland, in its work towards alleviating the suffering of those living with spinal cord injury. The institute aims at gathering scientific knowledge in one faculty to be available for research by prominent doctors and scientists.
This initiative has received support from the Nordic Council which has agreed to establish a working group of doctors and scientists to examine Nordic and international research and methods of treatment of spinal cord injury, with the aim to make recommendations for enhanced work in the field of treatment.
We encourage Member States, as a part of their national efforts, to take similar steps in increasing knowledge of serious injuries caused by traffic accidents and ways to more effectively treat or even cure them. We additionally stand ready to share our knowledge with all those interested through our national Road Safety Directorate and the Institute of Spinal Cord Injury in Iceland.
Finally, we would like to thank Oman for placing the issue on the agenda of the United Nations as well as the Russian Federation for continuing to promote collective efforts to ensure the safety and needs of all road users. We know first hand that real results can be made in saving lives and alleviate the suffering of those left behind with serious injuries.
I Thank you, Mr/Madame President