Road traffic injuries are the eighth leading cause of death globally, and the leading cause of death for young people 15 to 29 years old. To mark the launch of the UN Global Road Safety Week, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP) hosted the “Regional Perspectives on Drinking and Driving” symposium on the alcohol-related impacts for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.
The symposium came just two months after the launch of the WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety showing that about 1.24 million road traffic deaths occur annually on the world’s roads, with little observed change since 2007.
The event opened with remarks from Executive Secretary of the UNECE Sven Alkalaj. Experts in road safety and public health from Europe, Australia, Africa, Asia and the Middle East discussed issues that influence alcohol-related road crashes, with forward-looking discussions addressing proven strategies and approaches and the roles of different stakeholders in preventing drink driving and improving road safety.
Approximately 27% of all road traffic deaths occur among pedestrians and bicyclists. In low-and middle-income countries, this figure is closer to a third of all road deaths, and in some counties it is more than 75%.