Road safety advocates on Thursday stressed that slower driving speeds have been found to drastically reduce fatality rates in road mishaps.
In the launching of the SaveLives #SlowDown campaign, various groups pledged to raise awareness and push for reforms to advance road safety awareness, including advocating slower driving speeds among motorists.
The campaign was organized by Safe Kids Worldwide Philippines (SKWP) together with Safe Kids Worldwide Network, Global Alliance of NGOs for Road Safety, Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association, Inc. and the World Health Organizations.
The launching of the campaign was hosted by SM Prime Holdings Inc. and was held at the Music Hall of the Mall of Asia in Pasay City. It was set to coincide with the United Nations-led Global Road Safety Week.
Jocelyn Yambao-Franco, President of SWKP, pointed to the need to slow down on the road as she cited that recent data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that road traffic crashes kill an average of 34 Filipinos a day and is the main cause of death for youths aged 15 to 19 years.
Worldwide, an estimated 1.25 million die and over 50 million are injured on road crashes annually and by 2020, road traffic crashes are expected to increase by 80 percent in low and middle income countries due to increasing motorization.
Benjamin Lane, health systems team leader of WHO Philippines, said reducing speed even by just 1 kilometer per hour will save lives.
Jesus de la Fuente, Executive Director of SKWP, agreed, saying that a large portion of traffic road crashes that are fatal are caused by speeding.
“A great portion of our road traffic crashes especially those that are fatal are caused by speeding and it has already proven that a five percent cut in average speed can result in a 30 percent reduction in the number of fatal road traffic crashes. This is what we hope to achieve in this event,” de la Fuente stressed.
He said if the government and the public do not introduce effective road safety interventions, more people will die or get injured in road accidents.
De la Fuente cited that road traffic crashes have increased in the Philippines for the past several years.
“Government data show transport-related crashes in the country have increased sharply from 15,572 in 2014 to 24,565 in 2016,” he said.
Mark de Leon, assistant secretary of the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said they are set to implement various programs that will make roads safer to everyone.
“We are proposing the installation of speed limit devices in all our public utility vehicles as well as dashcams and CCTVs for the protection of not only our riding public but pedestrians. DoTr will make sure our roads are safer,” he said.
In 2011, the WHO launched the Decade of Action for Road Safety which prescribes a framework designed to curb the rising number of road traffic injuries and fatalities in the World.
Following the 2011 Framework on Road Safety, the DoTr spearheaded the formulation of the Philippine Road Safety Action Plan 2011-2020 with the goal of reducing road traffic crashes by 2020.
Royce Cabunag, director of SM Cares Program on Children and Youth, said “In this fast-paced world, not everything needs to move at the speed of light, and the road is definitely a place where slowing down is vital and lifesaving. SM is a proud partner in this advocacy to protect and save lives, especially that of our children.”
SKWP is a non-government organization working for the prevention of unintentional injuries to children 14 years old and below. It addresses issues of road traffic crashes, drowning, falls, burns and poisoning. SKWP is a member of Safe Kids Global Network with more than 30 member countries and 400 coalitions in the United States and the Global Alliance of Non-Government Organizations (NGO) for Road Safety with more than 170 member NGOs from more than 90 countries around the world.