ALERT – Handicap International publishes a policy paper on road safety | January 25, 2017
Handicap International developed a policy paper based on its experience working closely with public authorities and civil society to improve the road safety sector in several countries. A pressing issue on the global development agenda Road crashes, on the rise in developing countries, are increasingly responsible for premature deaths, physical disabilities and psychological distress, creating […]
Handicap International developed a policy paper based on its experience working closely with public authorities and civil society to improve the road safety sector in several countries.
A pressing issue on the global development agenda
Road crashes, on the rise in developing countries, are increasingly responsible for premature deaths, physical disabilities and psychological distress, creating a tremendous negative economic impact on victims, their families and society in general. Vulnerable road users are most affected by road crashes as the majority of the road networks, are designed to speed-up traffic and increase trade flows, and are generally constructed for use by four-wheeled and heavy goods traffic. In developing countries the majority of road users are pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists or slow moving farming vehicles. Children, in particular, are at risk from this transport system design.
Handicap International’s actions
In 2000, the Physiotherapy Project in Lao PDR discovered that at least 80% of patients needing physiotherapy treatment had sustained their injuries from road crashes. Alarmed by this trend, Handicap International started some awareness-raising activities to alert the population to the dangers of the road. A more comprehensive survey was commissioned by Handicap International in 2002 in selected hospitals in the region (Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam) to gain a better understanding of the causes of road crashes. Following the results of this survey and having calculated the global cost of road crashes, Handicap International launched a pilot road safety project in Lao PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam in 2003.
From its experiences in Mine-UXO prevention, Handicap International has built strong capacities in advocacy, database management, education and awareness-raising methodologies. This knowledge has since been applied to Handicap International’s road crash prevention projects.
To date, Handicap International has contributed significantly to the development of the National Road Safety Action Plans in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam, the establishment of the National and Provincial Road Safety Committees and the drafting and approval of new traffic laws. As a result of its road safety interventions, Handicap International is now recognized by governments, the private sector, and civil society as a leading non-governmental organization in the field of road safety.
Additionally, Handicap International is regarded by other road safety stakeholders at both national and international levels as a valuable partner for conducting road safety activities and providing technical advice and support in implementation of projects and policy-making.
Preventing disabilities and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities
Furthermore, through its road safety action, Handicap International is contributing to the defence of human rights, particularly the rights defined in Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (“the right to life, liberty and security of person”). Handicap International also recognises that safe mobility is necessary to enjoy many other basic human rights, especially the rights to education (Article 26), health (Article 25), and work (Article 23). Moreover, Handicap International’s road safety intervention is also attempting to align with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (see section 6) including the rights to access safe transport (Article 9) and personal mobility (Article 20). These road safety initiatives aimed at reducing injuries and deaths on the road are critical in preventing disabilities.