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THE GLOBAL ROAD SAFETY STEERING COMMITTEE – INITIAL PROGRESS MOBILIZING THE UNITED NATIONS AROUND ROAD TRAFFIC SAFETY

The mission of the Global Road Steering Committee is to raise political will and encourage swift action to stop the epidemic of road traffic injuries.

This steering committee began when a group of orthopaedic surgeons, who are also members of The Bone and Joint Decade, wanted to take action to prevent the suffering they saw firsthand from road crashes. To spark attention in governments at the highest level, they conceived the idea of a conference on road safety at the United Nations. After initial work, Dr. Bruce Browner asked The Task Force for Child Survival and Development to help realize their goal.

Dr. Bruce Browner (right) who initiated the drive to involve the UN in global road safety, listens with his BJD colleague, Dr. Karsten Dreinhöfer, to the strong support that his vision elicited from speaker after speaker at the General Assembly meeting on April 14.

The Task Force works on large-scale public health problems that require the collaboration of multiple organizations to solve them and global road safety seemed to be a very urgent and important problem that might benefit from a collaborative approach. Working closely with the Bone and Joint Decade, the Task Force organized the Steering Committee for Global Road Safety and was asked to serve as the Secretariat. Initial members included the WHO, the World Bank, UNICEF, UNDP, the Bone and Joint Decade and the FIA Foundation. More recently, the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) and the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) joined.
The Steering Committee, with UN Ambassador Al-Hinai of Oman (left), have worked together since November 2002 to put the road safety crisis on the UN agenda in record time, bringing this issue to the attention of governments and world leaders.

Having learned about the global road safety crisis from Dr. Wahid Al-Kharusi, an Omani orthopaedic surgeon, HE Ambassador Fuad Mubarak Al-Hinai was instrumental in bringing this issue to the attention of his colleagues at the UN. He hosted two technical briefings, held numerous meetings, drafted three UN resolutions and spent hours in negotiations to achieve consensus.

Dr. Wahid Al-Kharusi (right), also with the Bone and Joint Decade, travels the globe advocating for road safety. He hopes others will be moved into working to prevent carnage on the roads by his experience caring for victims of road traffic crashes. Dr. Al-Kharusi has been a leader in developing an emergency care system for road crashes and a trauma registry in Oman, essential for tracking progress.
David Ward (left), Director General of the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society in London, and Dr. Mark Rosenberg (right), Executive Director of The Task Force for Child Survival and Development in Atlanta, have put their heads together to collaborate on road safety since the inception of the Steering Committee in November 2002.

The two have worked closely with other members to bring this issue to the UN and bring key people together from across the globe for the UN Stakeholders’ Forum.

Dr. Etienne Krug (right) and Dr. Margie Peden (left) from WHO’s Injuries and Violence Prevention Department co-produced the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Preventionwith the World Bank and planned World Health Day, April 2004.
Richard Scurfield and his colleague, Tony Bliss, from the World Bank listen to the General Assembly meeting where a high level representative spoke in support of actions that they want to take. Both have had an active role in providing technical assistance for global road safety in countries around the world and both contributed to the world report.
Dr. Pascal Villaneuve, Chief of Health for UNICEF, recognizes the importance of road safety for children based on research they have done in Viet Nam and other Asian countries. A survey on childhood injuries showed that road crashes are a leading cause of death and disability in children, particularly in developing countries.
Ms. Alison Drayton, Deputy Director for the Division for UN Affairs, United Nations Development Programme, has been an invaluable strategic resource to the Steering Committee based on her years of experience as an advisor in the UN system. With a specialty in sustainable development, Ms. Drayton has advocated for the link between road safety and development.
Mr. David Silcock, Chief Executive of GRSP, has been involved in creating partnerships in road safety between the public and private sector in multiple countries throughout the world. He brings with him deep knowledge and experience in the arena of transport with over 25 years experience as an engineer working on road safety projects around the world.
Ms. Rochelle Sobel, Founder of ASIRT, has been a tireless advocate for road safety within the United States and in countries around the world such as Turkey and Kenya.

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To find about more about the Global Road Safety Steering Committee, click here.