By 2030, road traffic crashes are projected to become the world's 5th leading cause of death. Among young adults, it is already the main killer. With the right interventions, these tragedies are entirely preventable.
Vital Strategies is an implementing partner of the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety, which seeks to reduce traffic fatalities in ten global cities. Our $29.9 million mandate is to support the city governments in implementing best practices, strengthen road safety surveillance systems, and implement strategic communications programs.
1.2M people worldwide are killed in road traffic crashes annually – over 90% in low- and middle-income countries. Half of these deaths are “vulnerable road users”: pedestrians, cyclists and drivers of motorized two-wheelers. Under current trends, road traffic crashes will become the world’s 5th leading cause of death by 2030.
In 2015, Vital Strategies became an implementing partner of the $250 million Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety, which aims to reduce traffic fatalities in ten global cities and five countries. The focus of the initiative is to assist governments in implementing a broad, multi-year plan of action that includes legislation, enforcement, strategic communication and infrastructure improvements.
of the 1.2 million people killed in road crashes each year are in low- and middle-income countries.
Vital Strategies will work with a cadre of other international partners to provide necessary technical assistance. Specifically, we will serve as the main liaison with the Mayor’s office in each participating city and assist cities in building mechanisms to monitor progress on road safety. Vital Strategies will also help cities develop strategic marketing and media campaigns to promote safer driving and compliance with regulations.
It is a stark call to action: A mother flips through a photo album, talking about her teenage daughter killed on an Addis Ababa road by a driver who had been drinking alcohol. Her pain and grief are palpable as she tells viewers, “I cannot find solace.” The television PSA ends with a clear message: Never drink and drive.
This ad was the centerpiece of the “Never Drink and Drive” campaign, a hard-hitting and emotional anti-drink driving campaign in the Ethiopian capital in October 2016, part of a $250 million global initiative administered by Vital Strategies called the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS). In Addis Ababa, citywide social marketing campaigns are the tip of the iceberg – the most visible part of intensive work with the local government to improve the complicated web of elements needed to reduce road safety deaths in the long term. These include upgrading reporting of traffic deaths, surveillance of road user habits like helmet wearing, and advertising campaigns tightly coordinated with increased enforcement.
Interventions like these are desperately needed. The WHO estimates that 23,837 people died on Ethiopia’s roads in 2015, with a fatality rate of 25.3 per 100,000 people, compared to 17.4 worldwide and 24.2 in low-income countries. Globally, 1.2 million people are killed in road traffic crashes annually – over 90% in low- and middle-income countries. Half of these deaths are “vulnerable road users”: pedestrians, cyclists and drivers of motorized two-wheelers. Under current trends, road traffic crashes will become the world’s 5th leading cause of death by 2030.
In each of these countries and cities, creating sustained reduction will require building strong systems, instilling know-how and coordinating different sectors of government. For the “Never Drink and Drive” campaign, while Addis Ababa residents were seeing and hearing the PSAs, police were out on the streets in a high-visibility enforcement effort using breathalyzers for the first time.
Vital Strategies has taken this approach in all ten of the program’s cities, bringing together global and local experts, city officials and advocates on the ground to implement innovative and effective public health interventions. Our hope is that with each intervention, and each campaign, we can spare at least one more mother from grieving the needless loss of a child.