EMBARQ Turkey helps emerging cities meet road safety goals
Road traffic crashes currently contribute to 1.3 million deaths and 50 million injuries every year. The cost of these traffic accidents worldwide has reached $518 billion. If no action is taken, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that the number of fatalities arising from road traffic crashes will reach 1.9 million people by 2020.
Developing countries are the ones most affected by these road traffic crashes. More than 90% of the road traffic fatalities occur in low or middle-income countries, and Turkey is one of the countries most affected. Among the 24 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, Turkey is second only to Russia in road crashes per capita. To address this challenge, EMBARQ Turkey is supporting the Turkish delegation as one of two countries representing the European Continent in the United Nations “Road Safety 10” Project.
The scope of Turkey’s challenges
In Turkey, 10,000 people lose their lives each year in traffic crashes while almost 200,000 are injured. From an economic perspective, the annual cost of traffic accidents in Turkey is roughly $8.5 billion. Considering the country’s growing population, the number of new vehicles on the road, and the density of traffic on Turkish city streets, the risk for accidents is also increasing. To combat this trend, Turkey is working to reduce the fatalities and injuries from traffic road crashes. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made the ambitious pledge to decrease road traffic fatalities by 50% by 2020, which marks the end of the Decade of Action for Road Safety. A robust action plan and Traffic Safety Platform (TGP) – affiliated with Turkey’s Security General Directorate of Traffic Services Department - aim at raising awareness on road safety around the country.
Combining efforts to amplify results
Although EMBARQ Turkey’s official membership in the Traffic Safety Platform is recent, the two organizations have a longstanding history of collaboration to improve road safety in Turkey. As of March 19, 2014, EMBARQ Turkey has become an official member of this platform as the Coordinator for Urban Planning and Transport. In addition to coordinating the urban planning and transport initiatives of the Committee, EMBARQ Turkey will also conduct influential events around social responsibility and share experiences from across the EMBARQ Network.
Within the scope of this membership, the Traffic Safety Platform will engage with EMBARQ Turkey’s RSLab project (Road Safety Lab), which provides assistance to cities and governments to achieve ambitious targets for reducing traffic crashes and fatalities by 2020. The Platform will support data collection, road safety auditing, and finding sustainable transport solutions that simultaneously save lives, and will also involve the Directorates of Security and Traffic. EMBARQ Turkey will also share reports and best practices in road safety with other Platform members to advance knowledge sharing.
Mapping the course to a solution
The majority of Turkey’s traffic crashes stem from violating the rules of the road, but this issue is surmountable. For instance, an awareness campaign organized by the Traffic Safety Platform and Bloomberg Philanthropies from 2010 - 2013 on the importance of seatbelts helped increase the rates of using seatbelts from 3.9% and 23% in 2010 to 72.9% and 37.9% in 2013 in Afyon and Ankara, respectively. To move even further, Turkey needs a mass mobilization for road safety awareness. The Traffic Safety Platform, which also boasts the United Nations and WHO as members, is the best platform to raise public awareness and take an active role in determining the best public policies and strategies for improving traffic safety. As a Platform member, EMBARQ Turkey will take part in an important process to improve traffic safety in the country and save thousands of lives.
EMBARQ Turkey’s traffic safety work is made possible by Bloomberg Philanthropies.