Responsibility and action

To minimise death and injury on the roads and manage road safety effectively, it is necessary and essential to:

  • Identify a lead agency in government.
  • Assess the problem, policy and institutional settings.
  • Prepare a national road safety strategy and plan of action.

Identify a lead agency in government to guide the national road traffic safety effort
Each country needs a lead agency on road safety, with the authority and responsibility to make decisions, control resources and coordinate efforts by all sectors of government - including those of health, transport, education and the police. This agency should have adequate finances to use for road safety, and should be publicly accountable for its actions. Experience across the world has shown that different models can be effective in road safety and that each country needs to create a lead agency appropriate to its own circumstances. The agency might undertake much of the work itself or else it might delegate work to other organisations, including provincial and local governments, research institutes or professional associations. Specific efforts should be taken by the agency to engage all significant groups concerned in road safety, including the wider community. Awareness, communication and collaboration are key to establishing and sustaining national road safety efforts. National efforts will be boosted if one or more well-known political leaders can actively champion the cause of road safety.

Assess the problem, policies and institutional settings relating to road traffic injury and the capacity for road traffic injury prevention in each country
An important element in dealing with road safety is ascertaining the magnitude and characteristics of the problem, as well as the policies, institutional arrangements and capacity within the country to deal with road traffic injuries. This includes an understanding not only of the volume of traffic deaths, injuries and crashes, but also of which road users are most affected; in which geographic areas the greatest problems are found; what risk factors are contributing; what road safety policies, programmes and specific interventions are in place; what institutional structures are addressing the road traffic injury problem; and what their capacity is. Intermediate outcome measures - such as mean speeds, rates of seat-belt wearing, and rates of helmet wearing - can also be useful and can be obtained through simple surveys. Possible sources of data include: police; health ministries and health care settings; transport ministries; insurance firms; motor vehicle manufacturing companies; and government agencies collecting data for national planning and development.

Collect and Use Data
Reliable and accurate data are needed for a variety of purposes, including for advocating for road safety, identifying specific problems and risks, setting targets, formulating appropriate strategies and monitoring impact. Road safety data, collected every day in most countries, cannot meet these objectives unless they are properly coded, entered in a system, processed, analysed, disseminated and used. Data which is collected and analyzed but not acted upon represent a poor use of resources. The ultimate aim of developing good road safety data systems is to use the information generated to improve the road safety situation. This fourth of four modules provides users with an introduction to how the outputs of road safety data systems may be used for evidence-based road traffic injury prevention, and monitoring and evaluation of road safety performance.

gTKP supported UNDA in a target setting project - the full report is now available below.

Prepare a national road safety strategy and plan of action
Each country should prepare a road safety strategy that is multisectoral - involving agencies concerned with transport, health, education, law enforcement and other relevant sectors - and multidisciplinary - involving road safety scientists, engineers, urban and regional planners, health professionals and others. The strategy should take the needs of all road users into account, particularly vulnerable road users, and should be linked to strategies in other sectors. It should involve groups from government, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, the mass media and the general public. A national road safety strategy needs to set ambitious but realistic targets for at least five or ten years. It should have measurable outcomes and sufficient funding to develop, implement, manage, monitor and evaluate actions. Once the road safety strategy is prepared, a national action plan, scheduling specific actions and allocating specific resources, should be developed.

Country Guidelines for the Conduct of Road Safety
The findings of the World Report culminated in six overarching recommendations that set out the strategic initiatives necessary to improve country road safety performance. Implementing these recommendations will require capacity building at the global, regional and country levels to create the resources and tools necessary to target initiatives on a scale capable of reducing significantly and sustainably the huge economic and social losses arising from road deaths and injuries.

These World Bank Global Road Safety Facility guidelines presented in this report provide a pragmatic approach designed to overcome institutional capacity barriers and achieve sustainable results.

Human capacity to respond to this major public health concern is an important component of efforts  to prevent   road traffic injuries. Policy-makers, researchers and practitioners need information on effective

prevention measures and how to develop, implement and evaluate such interventions. There is a need to train more specialists in road traffic injury prevention in order to address the growing problem of road traffic injuries at international and national levels. The WHO Road Traffic Injury Prevention Manual, available in The Knowledge Centre is a useful guide.

Collision Investigation forms an essential element of all good road safety practice as evidence based interventions are essential. A useful note is here.

Useful links:

Case Studies