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Road safety: Italy joins UN campaign, walking and cycling benefit the planet

NEW YORK, MAY 15 – On the first Day of the Global Week for road safety, the Italian Permanent Representative to the United nations in New York, Ambassador Maurizio Massari, stressed that walking and cycling can benefit the planet, reduce traffic crashes, and improve public health. “As a Friend of Road Safety and staunch partner of UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy Jean Todt, Italy is committed to prioritizing these options in transport planning for safer, healthier communities”, said the Ambassador, while his Mission argued that reducing speeds from 50 to 30km/h in urban areas can reduce risk of dying in a crash by up to 60% for pedestrians & cyclists. “Let’s rethink mobility and prioritize lower speeds in our communities”.

This week campaign, running from 15 to 21 May, will focus on Africa. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among African youth, so governments across the continent have resolved to drive in a new unified direction.

Increasingly grim accident statistics provided the impetus for action, including two bus crashes in Senegal that claimed 62 lives in January. In nearby Côte d’Ivoire, the daily number of fatal road accidents has risen to 46, from just 12 in 2012.

In the world’s region most affected by road crashes, sub-Saharan Africa’s fatality rate is 27 per 100,000 inhabitants. That is three times higher than Europe’s average of nine and well above the global average of 18, according to the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), which manages 59 of the Organization’s legal instruments on inland transport, including the UN road safety conventions.

Every year, 1.3 million people around the world are killed as a result of road crashes, and millions more are injured, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. In Africa, traffic deaths account for about one quarter of the global number of victims, even though the continent has barely 2 per cent of the world’s vehicle fleet, said the Special Envoy for Road Safety Todt, who just returned from a visit to the streets and highways of West Africa. “Africa is particularly affected by the tragedy of road accidents, which is the leading cause of youth mortality,” he said. (@OnuItalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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