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16 Cities call for Justice during World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

Governments around the world commemorated the nearly 1.3 million lives lost on the world’s roads during the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims—the third Sunday of November each year. Vital Strategies supported a multitude of events, ranging from artistic installations to public testimonials from the loved ones of crash victims. This annual event highlights the devastation road crash injuries and deaths have on individuals and their families, while reinforcing the importance of recognizing these crashes as a public health crisis and not random, unpreventable “accidents.”

This year’s global theme—“Justice”— provided a platform for those affected by road crashes to advocate for better support for traffic victims and their families, in addition to promoting evidence-based actions to prevent future road traffic deaths and injuries.

Vital Strategies continues to urge governments and leaders around the world to embrace and implement data-driven interventions that can save lives. Working with the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety, Vital supports governments and partner organizations to strengthen road crash data systems, guide the creation of strategic communication and mass media campaigns to change road user behavior, and liaise with the initiative’s many global partners, governments and city agencies to align efforts to implement policy, infrastructure, enforcement, communication and surveillance programs.

For the World Day of Remembrance in 2022, here’s how 16 communities honored victims and their families, while pledging to prevent further senseless deaths on the roads.

Bogotá, Colombia: Advocating Through Artwork

The Ministry of Transport, the National Road Safety Agency and the Bogotá Secretariat of Mobility organized an event at the Plaza de Bolívar that featured an artistic installation to remember the lives lost on the roads. In addition, Colombian artist Green Amarilla unveiled a mural called “Working Together We Save Lives,” highlighting the need for urgent action to prevent tragedies on the city’s roads. 

In her mural, artist Green Amarilla portrayed two of the most vulnerable road users affected by road crashes: pedestrians and bicyclists. 

Cali, Colombia: Social Media Messaging and a Call to Slow Down 

The Cali Secretariat of Mobility led a multitude of activities to commemorate the World Day of Remembrance, including a series of social media posts, a public event and an art installation that showcased posters with messages warning against speeding. During the event, Secretary of Mobility William Vallejo and representatives from city and partner organizations, including Rebecca Bavinger of Bloomberg Philanthropies, worked together to highlight the importance of implementing evidence-based strategies to save lives.

Córdoba, Argentina: The First Public Display for the World Day of Remembrance

For the first time in the city’s history, public monuments across Córdoba were illuminated with yellow lights in honor of victims’ memories during the World Day of Remembrance. A social media push also shared testimonials from loved ones of victims that sought to dissuade speeding, emphasizing that driving above the speed limit increases the likelihood of injury or death for both the driver and those outside the vehicle. 

The Centennial Bridge in Córdoba City illuminated in yellow lights to honor road traffic victims.

Buenos Aires, Argentina: Shining a Light on Road Safety 

The city’s most iconic monuments were illuminated in yellow lighting to bring awareness to road crashes and commemorate the victims of these tragedies. In addition, Vital Strategies and initiative partners worked with partners on a tactical urban planning project that allowed both children and adults to decorate streets with chalk and stencil paintings encouraging road users to slow down. Partners involved in the activity included: Clara Sanguinetti, General Director of Design and Implementation of the Secretariat; Mariana Ferreira, Manager of Mobility Culture Change; and nongovernmental organizations such as National Network of Relatives of Traffic Victims and Madres del Dolor(Mothers of Pain).

On Parque Avellaneda, children and adults participated in a tactical urban planning project that aimed to redistribute the use of the streets with dedicated bike lanes and promoted lower speeds in school zones.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Visiting Surviving Crash Victims

In Addis Ababa, the day was marked by visits to the Black Lion and Abet hospitals, where city and national officials met with victims severely injured in traffic incidents, offering prayers and candle lighting commemorations. At Abet Hospital, medical professionals demonstrated post-crash care, and keynote speakers moderated a panel discussion on road safety risk factors, measures to be taken to reduce the risk of a car crash, and post-crash medical care.

H.E Deputy Mayor Jantirar visits a victim at Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa. 

Guadalajara, Mexico: Promoting Responsible Driving Habits

Activities across Guadalajara included the illumination of public monuments, an installation promoting responsible driving habits, and the launch of the city’s annual road safety report. The Secretariat of Mobility also held a commemorative event on one of the city’s busiest streets, Paseo Chapultepec.

Kampala, Uganda: Prayers and Testimonials

This year’s event, convened at the Old Taxi Park in Kampala, featured prayers and testimonials from survivors of road traffic crashes, as well as a temporary art installation. The event united national road safety stakeholders and underscored that drivers of passenger service vehicles are central to road safety improvements. 

Participating in the event were the Ministry of Works and Transport, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry for Kampala Capital City and Metropolitan Affairs, the Kampala Capital City Authority, civil society, and other partners, including Safe Way Right Way.

Hajjat Misi Kabanda, the Minister for Capital City and Metropolitan Affairs, noted that the Kampala Capital City Authority is taking steps to build safety through several initiatives, such as the installation and replacement of road traffic signs and increasing road markings. 

An art installation focuses on a display of the shoes of victims who lost their lives on Ugandan roads. 

Accra, Ghana: A Striking Display of the Dangers of Speeding

The National Road Safety Authority and the Accra Metropolitan Assembly collaborated to position a mangled vehicle at the Apenkwa bus stop, a crash-prone hot spot, to draw motorists’ attention to the devastating effects of crashes. In previous years, the location has recorded the highest number of road fatalities compared with other crash-prone hot spots within the city. 

The site installation also calls attention to the fact that more than 1,800 fatalities have resulted from crashes in Accra from January to September 2022 alone.

Kumasi, Ghana: Site Installations and Visits to Victims

The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly and National Road Safety Authority displayed two mangled cars at separate roundabouts in Kumasi to draw attention to the severity of crashes. The city’s World Day of Remembrance activities also included visits with two crash victims at their homes: Owusu Bempa, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle; and Ben Quaye, a driver who has permanent disabilities as a result of a road crash. Both shared their personal accounts with the media. Notable dignitaries in attendance included the Kumasi Mayor Hon. Samuel Pyne and National Road Safety Authority Ashanti Director Simbiat Wiredu.

One of the two totaled vehicles displayed in Kumasi on the World Day of Remembrance.

Salvador, Brazil: More than Just a Number

At Avenida Bonocô, Salvador City Hall, through the Salvador Transit Superintendence (Transalvador), two large panels were installed to draw awareness to the 117 lives lost as a result of traffic crashes in Salvador in 2021. The symbolic installation included a vigil that was attended by the capital’s traffic Superintendent, Marcus Passos, Transalvador’s Traffic Education Manager, Mirian Bastos, and Vice Mayor Ana Paula Matos. 

The head of the traffic agency, Marcus Passos, the vice mayor, Ana Paula Matos, and transit employees honor the 117 lives lost in 2021 on Salvador’s roads. 

Mexico City, Mexico: A Message to Motorcyclists and an Event for Bicyclists

In addition to the yellow lighting of various city monuments, a stand within EXPOMOTO, the most important motorcyclist event in Mexico, illustrated data from the Ministry of Health that showed the injuries and fatalities motorcyclists risk when speeding.

During the “Muévete en Bici” (Move by Bike) event—attended by more than 100,000 people—signs and banners emphasized the importance of not exceeding speed limits. 

One of the banners displayed at Mexico City’s largest event for bicyclists.

Mombasa, Kenya: March to Save Lives

The National Transport and Safety Authority and the county government of Mombasa commemorated the lives lost due to road crashes with a parade from the High Court to Jaffrey Academy Hall, a school zone where children face particular risk when drivers are speeding. In 2022, nearly 15% of lives lost on Mombasa’s roads due to traffic crashes were children. After the parade, children from the academy read poems aloud that told the stories of real traffic victims. 

A parade called for drivers to obey speed limits, especially in school zones.

Quito, Ecuador: Presenting the Data

The National Traffic Agency held an event where they presented Quito’s annual road safety report as part of efforts to highlight and stop the rising number of deaths and injuries. The Metropolitan Traffic Agency of Quito participated in the event, with the director giving remarks to promote better road safety efforts. 

From left to right: Verónica Vásconez, Director of Communication of National Traffic Agency; Marcela Riera, Communication Officer; Ezequiel Dantas, Regional Technical Advisor; Jimena Romero, BIGRS Quito Coordinator; Ernesto Varas, National Traffic Agency Manager; Pamela Mendieta, Subsecretary of Ministry of Transport; Jonas Romo, Vital Strategies Public Health Regional Director; María Fernanda Cárdenas, Vital Strategies Regional Technical Advisor; Jhonny Tobbar, Colonel of Ecuadorian Commission of Transit; Pedro Villota, Quito Data Coordinator. 

Guayaquil, Ecuador: Lost but Not Forgotten

Guayaquil’s traffic agency hosted an event at the site of one of its newest tactical urbanism projects, “Calles Para la Gente” (Streets for the People). Civil society groups and families of victims honored the 182 victims of fatal crashes on Guayaquil’s roads in 2021 by raising white flowers and painting a star for each life lost on the road.

Viet Nam: A National Memorial Program to Raise Awareness

The National Traffic Safety Committee, Viet Nam Television and other relevant agencies jointly hosted a live television program, “Road Companion 2022,” in association with the memorial ceremony for victims of road crashes under the theme of “Enforcement of the Law on Road Safety and Development of Traffic Safety Culture.” The program’s message highlighted traffic crashes as one of the leading causes of death and injury, reminding people to abide by traffic laws and calling for increased participation from organizations and agencies to work together in preventing and easing the loss from road crashes.

A moment of silence to remember road traffic victims during Viet Nam’s televised memorial program.

Campinas, Brazil: Symbolic Acts of Remembrance

An event held at Rui Barbosa Square in the city’s downtown featured an installation in conjunction with a walk and a moment of silence on the steps of the Metropolitan Cathedral to honor the 151 lives lost in traffic over the past year in Campinas. Vinicius Riverete, President of Emdec, the city’s traffic agency, attended the event, along with local officials and representatives of stakeholder organizations.

President of Emdec, Vinicius Riverete, and Diogo Lemos, Executive Coordinator of BIGRS in São Paulo give remarks at an event in Campinas

About Vital Strategies’ Road Safety Program:

Vital Strategies is an implementing partner of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), supporting governments in carrying out proven road safety interventions around the world. We use our expertise to help cities strengthen road crash data systems, and then use that data to inform policy and action. We guide the creation of strategic communication and mass media campaigns to change road user behavior. Finally, we serve as the main liaison among the initiative’s multiple global partners, governments, and city agencies to align efforts in implementing policy, infrastructure, enforcement, communication and surveillance programs.

For more information on Vital Strategies’ work in road safety, please visit: https://www.vitalstrategies.org/programs/road-safety/

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies believes every person should be protected by an equitable and effective public health system. We partner with governments, communities and organizations around the world to reimagine public health so that health is supported in all the places we live, work and play. The result is millions of people living longer, healthier lives.

To learn more visit www.vitalstrategies.org or follow us @VitalStrat.