Sweden takes pole position in global road safety efforts

Published 30 October 2019 in:

Some 1.35 million people die in road traffic crashes every year. That’s 3 700 people every day. This is unacceptable.

 “Despite the gloomy situation and the major challenges, there is still cause for optimism. Many countries have shown that it is possible to reverse the trend, and Sweden is one such country,” says Minister for Infrastructure Tomas Eneroth.

Road traffic injuries are estimated to be the eighth leading cause of death globally, and the leading cause of death among people aged 5–29. An increased number of vehicles around the world has led to an increase in road deaths. And the number of vehicles and road deaths is expected to rise even further. By 2030, road traffic crashes are predicted to become the fifth leading cause of death globally.

“When Sweden hosts the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety next year, we will make sure that more countries follow our lead, understand the idea behind our Vision Zero efforts and are inspired by Sweden,” he continues.

The goal of Swedish policy is to halve the number of road deaths, and reduce the number of serious injuries by a quarter, between 2007 and 2020. Vision Zero is an ambitious objective that entails systemic change in Swedish road safety efforts. It involves adapting the traffic system to people, rather than the other way around. In September 2016, the Government adopted a comprehensive policy document for future road safety efforts – a new start for Vision Zero. The Vision Zero approach has been adopted by countries and cities around the world.

There is cause for optimism at global level. In 2009, world leaders reached agreement on road safety. At the First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Russia, a ‘Decade of Action for Road Safety’ was launched for the period 2011–2020. The aim was to highlight road safety politically and encourage world leaders in the area to take action to reduce road deaths.

The 2030 Agenda was introduced in 2015, and target 3.6 is to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2020. However, road safety has a clear bearing on a number of other aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as gender equality, democracy, public health, urban development and innovation.

Sweden’s results in the area of road safety, and our Vision Zero approach, have attracted a great deal of attention around the world. On 19–20 February 2020, Sweden will host the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety.

The conference is expected to gather minister-led delegations from some 80 countries. It will be organised together with the World Health Organization (WHO). Several international reference groups also support the planning of the conference.

With the conference, Sweden wants to share examples of best practice in road safety globally, of which Vision Zero is the clearest example. For Sweden, it is also important that future road safety efforts are more clearly linked to other aspects of sustainability. A wider group of actors must engage, not least in the business sector. Key questions will be: How can we integrate all of the SDGs into road traffic safety? How can we find synergies? How can we move ahead in concert with other policy areas? It is only together with other actors, and together with industry, that we can make significant progress towards achieving the SDGs by 2030. Global support for a wide range of measures by various actors will reduce the number of deaths and create safer traffic, while strengthening work on climate, gender equality and democracy.

Visit the conference website: https://www.roadsafetysweden.com/

Follow the conference on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RoadSafety2020