New York, NY (BBN) – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for global mobilization of expertise, resources and individual commitment to improve road safety as a demonstration of honour to all those who have lost their lives in road traffic accidents across the world over the years.

“Let us mobilize all possible contributions to improving road safety – from city planners to vehicle designers, from policy makers to road users,” said Mr. Ban in his message to mark the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, which is observed on 20 November every year.

“Let us honour those who have lost their lives on the world’s roads by acting to save the lives of others.”

He pointed out that nearly 3,500 people die on the world’s roads every day and tens of thousands others are injured, noting that road accidents have become the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 to 29. “This is an unacceptable price to pay for mobility.”

The first global Decade of Action for Road Safety was launched in May in an effort to reduce a scourge that kills an estimated 1.3 million people annually and leaves millions of others injured or permanently disabled. The United Nations-backed 2011-2020 Decade of Action aims to save five million lives.

It provides a framework for governments, civil society and the private sector to work together to improve road management, upgrade the safety of roads and vehicles, and educate drivers, passengers and pedestrians on safe road use.

“The plan focuses on the big risks, including speeding, drinking and driving, inattention while using mobile devices, and failing to use seat-belts, helmets and child restraints,” said Mr. Ban.

“It calls for better infrastructure and innovation. The global plan also encompasses care for victims, including their rescue, treatment and long-term rehabilitation. It calls for thorough crash investigations to prevent further deaths and injuries.”

He also said the UN itself earlier this month introduced a system-wide policy to promote road safety and the safe operation of the Organization’s vehicles.

Global vehicle ownership is forecast to double by 2020, and given the rapid expansion of the use of motor vehicles, especially in the world’s emerging economies, capacity-building for road safety is essential, he noted.

BBN/SSR/AD-21Nov11-1:50 pm (BST)