Foundation focuses on road safety issues

In Istanbul yesterday, the FIA Foundation put the accent firmly on road safety, with Chairman Tim Keown highlighting the crisis by saying that during the body’s three-hour meeting 136 children would die on the world’s roads.

“In addition, 310 adults will die while we are meeting and 17,000 people will be injured,” he added. 

Director General David Ward then explained that while current figures of 1.3 million deaths and 50 million injuries per year in road accidents are shocking, the number is due to rise to 2.4 million fatalities worldwide by 2030. 

“In the next ten years the world’s motor vehicle fleet will double to reach two billion,” he said. “This is an unprecedented experiment in rapid motorisation, and a huge road safety challenge.”

He added, however, that action on the issue is being taken by the FIA in its advocacy role and pointed to the recognition of road safety as a contributor to sustainable development at this year’s UN Rio+20 Earth Summit. 

He also highlighted the recent raising of road safety issues before the 67th UN General Assembly by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, a direct response, said Ward, to a meeting the South American leader had with FIA President Jean Todt in the lead up to the Assembly. 

Mr Ward then explained how the FIA Foundation encourages a safe systems approach to road use, whereby the fatality rate is reduced through education of drivers to encourage better road behaviour, via the construction of better roads and through the manufacture of better cars. In regard to roads and vehicles he paid tribute to the work being done by iRAP and Global NCAP. He also pointed to the FIA’s involvement in Formula One as an example of this systemic approach in action.

Looking forward, Deputy Director General Saul Billingsley said that next year will see the Foundation actively involved in the second United Nations Global Road Safety Week, which takes place in May with a theme of pedestrian safety. 

He focused on the Long Short Walk launched in London last month as part of the Zenani Mandela campaign. The initiative, in support of Global Road Safety Week, calls for the protection of pedestrians on roads around the world. People can share and upload photos and short videos of a daily walk, a favourite walk or highlight a road that needs better safety. Short walks from around the world will then be combined into one ‘Long Walk’ that will take place during UN Global Road Safety Week in May 2013.