Handicap International promotes road safety in China
Handicap International (HI), a non-government organization, will initiate road safety activities in China in coordination with the WHO to promote road safety next week in China.
During the world's first road safety week (April 23-27-2007), HI will organize activities within its current disability programs in Yuexi (Sichuan) and Lhasa (Tibet). The activities will include promotion and discussion on the road safety issues in the local areas, public awareness campaign targeted at young road users (don't drink and drive, use of helmets and use of seatbelts), and awareness events in the central place of main cities or townships.
The organization has wide experiences in the field, currently managing successful road safety programs in three countries in South East Asia -- Cambodia, the Laos and Vietnam.
HI has been present in China since 1998, managing disability prevention, rehabilitation and integration programs in Sichuan Province and Guangxi Zhuang and Tibet autonomous regions, in cooperation with local disabled people federations.
Road safety is a multi-disciplinary issue that requires the involvement and coordination of different ministries and stakeholders at different levels. The government should take action to improve the safety of road infrastructure and to enforce stricter laws and regulations, and HI believes that awareness and education actions at the grassroots' level are equally important, especially in rural areas.
In China, according to the statistics of the Ministry of Public Security, 89,000 people died from road traffic accidents in 2006, corresponding to one person being killed every 6 minutes. Although the government is very concerned about the situation and that major improvements have already been done, China road traffic's fatality rate is still very high (6 fatalities per 10,000 motorized vehicle, compared to 2 in Europe).