Speed guns are being tested in Sudan, as part of a United Nations project. UN Photo/Martine Perret

Rehabilitation care of road traffic victims must be strengthened, says UN

The Secretary General of the United Nations has called on all member states to strengthen and improve pre-hospital, trauma and rehabilitation care for people involved in road accidents.

As part of a new report on the global road safety crisis, the Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, has highlighted global progress to improve the safety of roads and vehicles – for example, legislation on speeding, drink-driving, motorcycle helmets, seat-belts and child restraints. 

However, he said much more needs to be done to meet the goal of the Decade of Action for Road Safety to save five million lives – particularly with regard to protecting vulnerable road users and adopting comprehensive road safety laws. Financial support for road safety continues to be a challenge, he said.

Noting improvements to trauma care systems, he said that these services must be available to every injured person, regardless of their ability to pay. He called for a global emergency number, pointing out that currently more than 100 different numbers exist, and 40 countries do not have an emergency access number at all.

Ralph Hammond, Chair of the WCPT subgroup the International Neurological Physical Therapy Association, commented that more coordinated action is crucial to improve road safety management. "We need to make roads and vehicles safer, walking safer, and the post-crash response more efficient and effective," he said.

“Too many people die each year because of road traffic accidents. Even more spend the rest of their days coping with the consequences of a serious crash. Physical therapists support such people to acquire or restore skills and functional abilities as early as possible.”

“People who have activity limitations as a consequence of a road traffic accident need mainstream health services, support for their informal caregivers and access to services that help them acquire skills or participate in chosen activities as early as possible.”