Bloomberg philanthropies announces $ 125 m to improve road safety


BSS, Dhaka :
In a major boost to the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, Bloomberg Philanthropies made a fresh commitment of US 125 million dollar donation in order to reduce fatalities and injuries from road traffic accidents worldwide.
Unless urgent action is taken, road traffic injuries will become the seventh leading cause of death by 2030, says a release of the World Health Organization available here on Wednesday.
To combat this trend, it says, selected low and middle-income cities and countries will be funded through this new funding. At national level support will focus on strengthening road safety legislation and at city level on implementing proven road safety interventions in areas such as pedestrian and cyclist safety, combating drinking and driving and speeding, and encouraging the use of motorcycle helmets, seat-belts and child restraints.
"Every life lost because of unsafe roads is a tragedy and most of those tragedies could be avoided with better rules, better enforcement and smarter infrastructure. City governments can be especially effective at putting those measures in place, because they are often able to move faster and more efficiently than other levels of government," said Michael R. Bloomberg.
"This new funding will be targeted to cities where we can make the biggest difference that have shown the strongest commitment to take action and that have the best ideas for making roads safer. And we'll help those cities work together to share effective strategies so that even more lives can be saved."
Bloomberg Philanthropies will work with each grantee to develop its proposal for participation in the initiative. With assistance from the world's leading experts in road safety, selected locations will establish a network of visionary municipal leaders who commit to implementing bold, new efforts to save lives and protect their citizens from injuries. The selected locations will be announced by January 2015.
"Strong road safety laws to prevent drinking and driving and speeding and promote the use of motorcycle helmets, seat-belts and child restraints, when coupled with an increase in compliance, have the potential to reverse the epidemic of road traffic deaths and injuries," noted Dr Etienne Krug, WHO Director for the Department of Management of Non-communicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention.
More than 1.2 million people die and 20-50 million people are severely injured from road traffic crashes around the world every year, making road traffic injuries the ninth leading cause of preventable death.