© WHO

2007: Youth Road Safety

2007 marked the first United Nations Global Road Safety Week. The theme for the week was youth and road safety. Each year nearly 400,000 people under 25 die on the world’s roads – on average more than 1000 a day. These statistics make road traffic injuries the leading cause of death worldwide among young people aged 10-24 years. 

The first Global Week culminated in an event titled: The World Youth Assembly for Road Safety. The Assembly brought together over 400 young people from more than 100 countries to help tackle this crisis. They adopted the Youth Declaration for Road Safety and were committed to take practical measures to improve road safety and called on adults to play their part as parents and leaders. 

Alongside the first ever World Youth Youth Assembly for Road Safety being held in Geneva, Switzerland, events took place across the world for youth and road safety awareness. A direct follow-up of the first UN Global Road Safety Week was the creation of YOURS - Youth for Road Safety, a global youth organization that acts to make the world's roads safe for young people. 

World Youth Assembly Youth Declaration Follow-up

 

 

© WHO

World Youth Assembly
for Road Safety

Opening the meeting, WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan referred to the first death that resulted from a car crash, in 1896. On that occasion the coroner reportedly remarked that "this should never happen again". However, "today an estimated 1.2 million people lose their lives every year," Dr Chan said:

margaret chan"Youth has the energy and persuasive power needed to help address what we now know is the biggest killer worldwide of people aged 10-24 years."


At the center of the event was the World Youth Declaration for Road Safety. In the Youth Declaration for Road Safety agreed by delegates to the Assembly, all 400 young people in attendance commited to taking practical measures to improve road safety and call upon other young people to do the same. The delegates pledged to wear seatbelts and motorcycle helmets and to avoid speeding and drink-driving and promote efforts to increase road safet amongst young people globally.

The declaration calls on all young people to "stand up and participate in local and national campaigns and programmes" and urges adults to do more. The declaration also calls for more political will at national and community level to tackle road safety. It urges schools and universities to teach young people about safety, bartenders to serve alcohol responsibly, media to report more widely and more responsibly about the lack of road safety, and celebrities and the entertainment industry not to glamourize speed and to wear seatbelts andh helmets.

Youth Declaration for Road Safety

youth declaration

Background

A group of youth delegates developed the "Youth Declaration for Road Safety". Although not binding in any way by the world's governments, provides some background on global road traffic injury prevention, a statement of commitment by the youth delegates to do their part to improve road safety, and a set of recommended actions to be taken by various groups: young people, parents and caregivers, educational institutions, communities, governments, NGOs, private companies, the media, and celebrities and the entertainment world.

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© YOURS

Follow Up

YOURS - Youth for Road Safety came as a direct follow-up of the United Nations World Youth Assembly for Road Safety. One of the main wishes of the 400+ World Youth Ambassadors to the assembly was the creation of a global youth-led organization that would lead a global youth movement for road safety. After a full year of planning and preparations after the first UN Global Road Week, under the auspices of the World Health Organization, YOURS was officially launched November 2009 during the opening ceremony of the First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Moscow, Russia, and started its activities early 2010.

Visit the YOURS website for more information about how the first UN Global Road Safety Week created a youth movement for road safety and find out more about this organization's work. 

Go to YOURS website