Bloomberg Philanthropies Commits US $240 Million To Prevent Road Traffic Deaths
Rush hour traffic in Ho Chi Minh City, one of the cities supported by Bloomberg Philanthropy’s Global Road Safety Partnership

Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a six-year US $240 million commitment to prevent road traffic injuries in low- and middle-income countries on Tuesday, just a day ahead of the Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Stockholm, Sweden. The new commitment aims to fund efforts to prevent 22 million injuries and save 600,000 lives from road traffic accidents.

“The price we are paying for our mobility is unacceptable. We need to do much more to save lives on our roads. This new investment is excellent news that comes at a critical time when world leaders convene to decide on achieving a 50% reduction in road traffic deaths by 2030,” said Etienne Krug, director of the Department of Social Determinants of Health at the World Health Organization in a press release.

The announcement comes just a day before 1700 delegates – including over 80 country delegations led by Ministers of Transport and Health – plan to meet in Stockholm for a two-day forum co-sponsored by WHO on road traffic safety. The attendees will set global priorities for road traffic safety for the next decade and review lessons learned from the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020.

Road traffic injuries are the number one killer of people ages 5-29. More than 1.35 million people die and up to 50 million are seriously injured in road traffic crashes each year. Some 15 countries account for 60% of all road traffic deaths globally.

“We should keep in mind that these deaths and injuries are completely preventable. After more than a decade of working with our international and in-country partners, we know which policies and interventions are saving lives,” said Kelly Henning, director of Public Health at Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The investment will help support implementation and enforcement of a package of “best-practice” interventions in up to 30 cities and 15 countries most impacted by the global road safety crisis:

  • Help governments regulate vehicle safety standards and raise consumer awareness to demand safer cars that meet the UN safety recommendations;
  • Reduce deaths on high-mortality roads such as interstate highways, through reduced speed limits, wider use of helmets and seatbelts, and reducing speeding and drunk driving;
  • Improve and enhance the collection of road crash data to more accurately capture fatalities and injuries, monitor the impact of policies, and prioritize interventions;
  • Launch the “Awards for Outstanding Excellence in Road Safety” to highlight countries and cities that have made progress in road traffic safety.

The new commitment builds on 12 years of previous investments by the foundation, which have resulted in at least 10 countries changing laws or policies to improve road safety.

Image Credits: Flickr/ M M.