World Day of Remembrance (WDoR) for road traffic victims has been observed by road safety advocates around the world since 1995 on the third Sunday of every November. This global event is held to remember the millions of road traffic survivors, victims and families impacted as a result of road crashes every year. For WDoR 2023, the Global Health Advocacy Incubator’s (GHAI) Road Safety Program partners across nine countries engaged the public on the importance of advancing road safety policies through various activities. GHAI provided support to partners with planning and outreach activities for in-person events, social media campaigns, securing media coverage, influencer outreach and video production.

In Bangladesh, members of the Road Safety Coalition observed the day with a variety of activities including a candlelight vigil organized by Dhaka Ahsania Mission at the site of a 2018 road crash, which took the lives of two high school students. The coalition hosted a roundtable discussion with key stakeholders and policymakers including Ms. Simeen Hussain Rimi, MP, Chairperson, Parliamentary Standing Committee, Ministry of Cultural Affairs on the importance of having a comprehensive law on road safety. Coalition members also secured 60 media stories and four op-eds focused on advancing road safety policies leading up to WDoR.

In Colombia, GHAI’s partners worked collaboratively to honor road crash victims and increase awareness of the high fatality rates among children and adolescents involved in road crashes. They produced a video titled #NadieNaceParaMorirenlaVia (#WeAreNotBornToDieOnTheRoad). Red Papaz launched a video campaign and a petition on the importance of child restraint systems, which garnered more than 600 signatures. The Conduce a 50, Vive al 100 (Drive at 50mph, live to 100) media campaigns encouraged road safety advocates and impacted family members to upload videos to social platforms wearing customized T-shirts with partner logos and key hashtags while asking government leaders take action in support of road safety policies. Fundación Liga Contra la Violencia Vial (League Against Road Violence) hung white fabrics covering Congress and calling for the public to get involved. They also embossed the #NadieNaceParaMorirenlaVia (#WeAreNotBornToDieOnTheRoad) hashtag in one of the city’s main plazas.

In Ecuador, Sofia Gordon, representative of the Ecuadorean Mobility Coalition, along with Paola Carvajal, representative of Movidana, delivered the road safety ordinance to Counselor Wilson Merino. In addition, two spiritual ceremonies were held, one in Quito at a Catholic church organized by Fundación Cavat and another in Guayaquil organized by Movidana. In Machala, a bicycle tour was organized in remembrance of the victims with over 40 participants.

Road safety advocates in various cities in Mexico organized a bike ride in memory of the victims. The Red Cross led ambulances to sound their sirens and public buildings as well as monuments were lit up in yellow in memory of road crash victims.

In Uganda, advocates participated in a 60km walk from Kampala to Mbale in memory of road crash victims and to raise road safety awareness, especially among boda bodas (motorcycles), bicycle riders and pedestrians who are most impacted by road crashes.

In Ukraine, the Center for Democracy and Rule of Law (CEDEM) published a press release on ways to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on the roads. With speeding as the main cause of road crashes, advocates suggested eliminating through legislative mechanisms the “unpunished 20 km/h, threshold” for speeding and aim to establish a new gradation of fines for exceeding the established speed limits and launch a system of penalty points. The press release secured substantial media coverage. CEDEM also posted statistics on road crashes in the last nine months on social media platforms, which received over 5,000 engagements.

These activities reflect a shared commitment to ensuring that people most affected by policy gaps have a say in the solutions. They provide just a glimpse of the work GHAI’s in-country partners are leading in pursuit of advancing road safety policies that will save lives and reduce injuries. According the World Health Organization's 2023 Global Status Report on Road Safety, road crashes remain the leading killer of children and youth aged 5 to 29 globally. While road crash deaths fell slightly to 1.19 million per year, road safety remains an urgent global issue.

Photos:

Road safety advocates in Bangladesh hold a candle light vigil on Nov. 19, World Day of Remembrance.
Families impacted by road crashes and road safety advocates in Quito, Ecuador gather at a church to honor the lives lost.
In Colombia, road safety advocates coordinated a demonstration with the hashtag #NadieNaceParaMorirenlaVia (#WeAreNotBornToDieOnTheRoad) at one of the city’s plazas.

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