The SDG target to halve road deaths and injuries by 2020 is recognized to be very ambitious. It is also consistent with similar targets adopted by some countries at a national level or by regional governmental bodies such as ASEAN and the EU. Nevertheless, unless significant measures are urgently undertaken in countries to reduce the number of road fatalities and serious injuries, it is unlikely to be achieved. Much more effort will be required in the next three years to secure a clear downward path in road traffic injury by 2020. On completion of the UN Decade of Action, the question then arises what target should be adopted for the remaining period of SDG implementation to 2030.
Setting targets for casualty reduction has been shown to be effective in promoting road safety and in harnessing multi-stakeholder partnerships to support them66. It was a major step forward for the international community to adopt a global target for 2020 which was based on a baseline of fatality levels occurring in 2010. There is clearly a strong case for setting a new target for 2030 based on the level of casualties occurring in 2020. This will require an assessment of what has been achieved by the Decade of Action. The WHO has already played a leading role in benchmarking progress in their Global Status Report on Road Safety and is, therefore, well placed to provide the basis upon which the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development67 will consider what will replace the current SDG road safety target when it expires at the end of the decade. As soon as the WHO’s data for 2020 is available this can be used as the baseline for a new target for 2030. A realistic but still ambitious target would be to halve deaths and serious injuries from road traffic crashes by 2030. This would carry forward the impetus of the UN Decade of Action and encourage more countries to apply safety system policies inspired by the vision of a world ultimately free from road trauma.