FIA President Jean Todt, who also serves as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, participated in the 18th World Road Meeting, organised from 14 to 17 November by the International Road Federation (IRF) in New Delhi, India. The theme of this year’s meeting was “Safe Roads and Smart Mobility: The Engines of Economic Growth”

IRF WRM, India

As keynote speaker, Jean Todt addressed the opening session of the World Road Meeting. After thanking the IRF Chairman Kiran Kapila and Ministers in attendance, he reminded participants of the troubling road safety situation in India.  

Today, India accounts for more than 10% of all road related fatalities recorded globally. This is despite having only 3% of the world’s vehicles. Approximately 151,000 people were killed in road traffic crashes in 2016 (Indian Government Data) and given the expected rise in urbanisation as well as in the number of motor vehicles, the outlook is alarming.

Given this context, Jean Todt welcomed the reforms put forward by the Government to the Motor Vehicles Act and highlighted that, if adopted and implemented, they could save thousands of lives. He also insisted on the importance of acceding to UN Road Safety Conventions, particularly those on Road Traffic, Road Signs and Signals, Vehicle Safety and Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road.

Regarding the establishment of a dedicated UN Fund for Road Safety, Jean Todt said: “The UNECE has put forward a detailed proposal which calls for an estimated $770 million annually over the next decade if we are to reduce fatalities by 50%. We can succeed if we have the right level of ambition and political will.” This Fund would be used to support the five pillars of the Decade of Action: road safety management, safer road users, safer vehicles, safer infrastructure and post-crash care.

Jean Todt mentioned the efforts of the FIA High Level Panel for Road Safety, which brings together some 40 leaders from the business community, civil society and government to raise greater awareness and carry out new activities on road safety. He concluded by emphasising that everyone can play a role in helping to achieve safe and smart mobility.

Prior to that, Jean Todt spoke at the Transport Ministers’ Forum on Road Safety, where the Delhi Declaration was presented. The Declaration stresses key road safety measures, including the importance of UN legal instruments, Minimum Vehicle Safety Standards (including Electronic Stability Control Systems) and the need to mobilise funding.

Jean Todt also participated in the launch of the Indian iRAP programme, hosted by the Asian Institute of Transport Development. He reiterated the FIA’s active support of the iRAP star-rating programme and the International Road Assessment Programme, which identifies high-risk roads and calls for safer road investment plans.

IRF WRM, India