Every year, the third Sunday of November is the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. This day has become an important tool in global efforts to reduce road casualties. It offers an opportunity for drawing attention to the emotional and economic effects caused by road crashes and for giving recognition to the suffering of road crash victims.

The focus of this year’s Day is on the theme “Speed Kills”. Along these lines, UN’s Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, has call world governments to slow traffic, and accelerate global action against road crashes. 

World day of Remembrance activities take place in countries of every continent around the world. A dedicated website was also launched to make the Day more widely known and to link countries through sharing common objectives and the remembrance of people killed and injured in crashes.

Facts and figures

Almost 4,000 people are killed and many hundreds of thousands injured on roads throughout the world every day. Many more have to cope with bereavement or the effects of injury and thus become part of the huge group of people affected by road carnage.

Europe’s roads are the safest in the world. In spite of the continuous decrease in road fatalities over the last years, about 70 people die on Europe’s roads every day. For every death on Europe’s roads there are 10 serious injuries such as damage to the brain or spinal cord.

Regarding the situation of vulnerable road users: The number of pedestrians killed is decreasing dramatically while the number of cyclists killed is increasing, partly due to the growing popularity of this means of transport. As reported by the European Commission in March, the challenge for Member States is to encourage people to use their bicycles rather than their cars more often, but to make sure that the shift from car to bicycle is a safe one.

ITS can contribute to improving road safety

A wider implementation of ITS solution could contribute to reduce road fatalities. As more than 90% of all accidents are caused by human error, new in-vehicle safety and driver assistance systems would be effective ways to tackle the problem.

A few examples of ITS technologies with the potential of saving lives are:

  • eCall, which automatically calls the emergency services and transmits location data from the accident scene, speeding up the arrival of emergency services.
  • Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), which monitors vehicle speed and the local speed limit and either warns the driver or reduces automatically the vehicle’s speed when this limit is not respected
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC), which stabilises the vehicle and prevents skidding

Apart from that, the less sophisticated passenger seat-belt remains a fundamental piece of technology to save lives on the road.