Zero Road Deaths and Serious Injuries

Leading a Paradigm Shift to a Safe System

image of Zero Road Deaths and Serious Injuries

This report describes a paradigm shift in road safety policy, being led by a handful of countries, according to the principles of a Safe System. A Safe System is based on the premise that road crashes are both predictable and preventable, and that it is possible to move towards zero road deaths and serious injuries. This, however, requires a fundamental rethink of the governance and implementation of road safety policy.

To stem the road death epidemic, the United Nations have set the target of halving traffic fatalities by 2020. Every year, 1.25 million people are killed in road crashes and up to 50 million are seriously injured. Road crashes kill more people than malaria or tuberculosis and are among the ten leading causes of death. Their economic cost is estimated at 2-5% of GDP in many countries. Written by a group of international road safety experts, this report provides leaders in government, administrations, business and academia with emerging best practices and the starting point to chart their own journeys towards a Safe System.


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Principles and description of a Safe System

International Transport Forum

The traditional approach to road safety accepts a trade-off between mobility and loss of life. The main reason for crashes is seen as “wrong” human behavior, and policy aims at influencing road users’ behaviour towards full compliance with rules and requirements. A Safe System recognises that humans will make mistakes, and that the human body has a limit to which it can absorb crash forces without suffering injury. It posits that safety is a shared responsibility of all actors in a traffic system, not only that of a road user. Thus, all elements of the road traffic system should come together in an integrate safety chain in which the elements will combine to prevent a crash, or at least prevent serious injury, even if one or more elements fail.

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