UNUnited Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Press Release


UN General Assembly adopts landmark Resolution on road safety

Geneva, 1 November 2005 - On 26 October 2005, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted an important Resolution aimed at reducing deaths and injuries from road accidents worldwide.

In the Resolution, co-sponsored by as many as 83 UN Member States */, the General Assembly encourages Member States to adhere to the UN Conventions on Road Traffic and on Road Signs and Signals, in order to ensure a high level of road safety in their countries, and also encourages them to strive to reduce road traffic injuries and mortality in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

At the same time it stresses the importance of the improvement in the international legal road traffic safety norms and welcomes specifically in this regard the substantial package of amendments to the 1968 Conventions on Road Traffic and on Road Signs and Signals, which have been elaborated by the Working Party on Road Traffic Safety (WP.1) of the UNECE Inland Transport Committee.

The General Assembly furthermore welcomes the proposal made by UNECE to hold the First UN Global Road Safety Week in 2007 targeted at young road users including young drivers, and invites the UN Regional Commissions and the World Health Organization to organize it jointly.

“This resolution is a great encouragement for our work”, said José Capel Ferrer, Director of the Transport Division at the UNECE. “It recognizes the important contribution of the UNECE over many years to improving road safety, not only through its technical and legal work, but also through its road safety campaigns, or Road Safety Weeks, aimed at raising awareness about this issue”.

The first UN Global Road Safety Week, which will be held from 23 to 29 April 2007, will serve as a platform for global and regional, but mainly national and local, activities to raise awareness about road safety issues. As proposed by the UNECE, it will focus on young road users, including young drivers.

Moreover, the General Assembly invites Member States to implement the recommendations of the World report on road traffic injury prevention, prepared by the WHO and the World Bank, particularly the setting up of a national lead agency for road safety, national plans of action and measures to address the main risk factors, namely speeding, alcohol, non-use of safety belts and child restraints, non-use of helmets and inappropriate infrastructure.

The General Assembly also encourages Member States and the international community to lend financial, technical and political support to the UN regional commissions, the World Health Organization and other relevant UN agencies for their efforts to improve road safety. It also invites regional commissions and other agencies to continue the existing road safety initiatives and take up new ones.

Finally, in recognition of road victims and families, the General Assembly invites Member States and the international community to recognize the 3rd Sunday in November of every year as the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

The 1968 Conventions on Road Traffic and on Road Signs and Signals provide all Governments with a harmonized technical and legal basis for their national highway codes. Based on best national practices, they contain the legal and technical rules for safe road traffic, including the rules that drivers must respect, e.g. priority rules, inter-distances, speed, etc. The recent amendments adopted by the UNECE WP.1 introduce new measures to improve road safety, including prohibition of hand-held mobile phone while driving, and stricter rules for the issuing and control of driving permits.

The 1971 European Agreements supplementing these Conventions have also been recently amended. These European Agreements provide stricter rules than those of the Conventions or make obligatory those rules that in the Conventions have a recommendatory character. One of the amendments is aimed at reducing the maximum admissible level of alcohol in the blood of the driver from 0.8 to 0.5 g/l. It is expected that all these amendments will enter into force in early 2006.

In addition to this technical and legal work, the UNECE has since 1990 organized four road safety campaigns, denominated Road Safety Weeks, aimed at improving driving behaviour and at raising awareness of road safety issues. UNECE Road Safety Weeks have served as a framework for the launching of simultaneous road safety campaigns in Member States around a common theme, a common logo and a common slogan. Common themes used have been: “Safety is Life”; “Young Road Users”; “Vulnerable Road Users”; and “Aggressive Driving Behaviour”.

The UNECE Road Safety Weeks have proved useful in many countries, in particular in countries with economies in transition, which had little experience with road traffic and road safety issues. It is expected that, similarly, the newly decided First UN Global Road Safety Week will be useful in reducing road accident victims in developing countries around the world.

For further information please contact:

José Capel Ferrer, Director, or
Marie-Noelle Poirier or Christopher Smith,
Transport Division
UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
Palais des Nations
CH - 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Telephone: +41 (0) 22 917 2400, 917 3259 or 917 3298
Fax: +41 (0) 22 917 0039
E-mail: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Website: http://www.unece.org/trans/main/welcwp1.html


* Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Comoros, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Fiji, France, Gambia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Viet Nam, Yemen and Zambia.

Ref: ECE/TRANS/05/P02