U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, Zoleka Mandela, Michelle Yeoh Join Safety Advocates from 30 Countries to Promote Global Road Safety for Children

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New #SaveKidsLives campaign launched to build awareness, highlight the plight of children, and generate worldwide action.

Road safety is a global epidemic that is not getting nearly the attention it deserves. That was the message from leaders from more than 30 countries around the world, who met this week for a summit on global road safety to collaborate on efforts to enhance the safety of children on the roads.

Every day around the world, more than 500 children are killed on or around roads, and tens of thousands are injured, with too many suffering lifelong disabilities. Children living in poorer nations are most at risk as more than 90 percent of child road traffic deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

The Safe Roads | Safe Kids Global Road Safety Summit was designed to build a high-level movement of partners from all levels, including international organizations, governments, corporations, foundations, nongovernmental organizations, families and children, to significantly enhance the visibility of global road safety on the international health and development agenda and to reduce morbidity and mortality for children.

A new campaign called #SaveKidsLives was launched at the summit. The campaign calls on everyone who has a stake in global road safety to put measures in place to ensure that Global Road Safety Week in 2015 will have maximum impact in terms of building awareness and accomplishing essential advocacy goals. To join the campaign, visit http://www.savekidslives2015.org.

“Road safety is a global epidemic that is likely to grow significantly in the immediate future, if we don’t act now,” said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “The Safe Roads | Safe Kids Global Road Safety Summit is about action. It’s about bringing together leaders from around the world to define the steps that we’ll take to make a real difference in the lives of our most vulnerable road users as we head toward Global Road Safety Week in 2015 and beyond.”

The two-day event, sponsored by FedEx, the General Motors Foundation, the FIA Foundation and Dorel, included speeches and panel discussions to address key safety topics that specifically affect children, such as pedestrian safety and safe school zones, child passenger safety, bicycle safety and motorcycle safety.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx delivered the keynote address. Zoleka Mandela, granddaughter of Nelson Mandela and an advocate for children around the world, delivered a passionate speech, sharing the story of her 13-year-old daughter, Zenani, who died in a road collision.

“I am proud to be joining our partners at the Safe Roads | Safe Kids Summit to launch the ‘#SaveKidsLives’ campaign,” said Mandela, who received the Safe Kids Worldwide Safety Advocate Award. “Road traffic injury is a leading killer of children around the world. It is a man-made epidemic, but it is one which we can solve. We’re calling for this to be a priority at the United Nations where the world’s new development goals are being decided. And road safety for children should be a priority on every street and in every town and city. Our leaders everywhere should listen to the children who are at the forefront of our campaign. We need road safety for every child worldwide. There’s no excuse, let’s Save Kids Lives.”

Jean Todt, president of the Fédération Internationale de l’ Automobile (FIA) and a champion of global road safety, received the Safe Kids Worldwide Road to Safety Award, created to recognize outstanding leaders who have worked tirelessly to advance innovative road safety solutions. Todt attended the summit with his partner, actor and advocate Michelle Yeoh, who challenged world leaders and families to #SaveKidsLives during a speech about the importance of road safety.

“I am delighted to be here in Washington with Michelle to support the Safe Kids Worldwide Global Road Safety Summit,” said Jean Todt, who launched FIA’s Action for Road Safety to support the UN Decade of Action. “I am full of admiration for people who are committed to ending the global scourge of road accidents. We know that 500 kids are killed on the road every single day and that thousands more are badly injured. The Safe Kids event will draw much needed attention and awareness to this daily tragedy, and call on leaders to take urgent action. As FIA president, road safety is at the top of my agenda, and I am very happy to work together with the president of Safe Kids, Kate Carr, to tackle this problem.”

Other summit participants included:

     •    Pierre Guislain, Senior Director for the Transport and Information & Communications, Technology Global Practice, World Bank
     •    Dr. Margie Peden, Coordinator, Unintentional Injury Prevention, World Health Organization
     •    Floor Lieshout, Director, Youth for Road Safety
     •    Ann Amstutz-Hayes, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Scholastic
     •    Saul Billingsley, Director General, FIA Foundation
     •    Nicholas Alipui, Director and Senior Adviser on the Post-2015, Development Agenda, UNICEF
     •    Dan Stoner, Associate Vice President for Education and Child Development, Save the Children USA
     •    Shane O’Connor, Communications Advisor, FedEx Global Citizenship
     •    David Friedman, Deputy Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
     •    Dr. LeiLei Duan, Director, Division of Injury Prevention, National Center for Chronic and Non- Communicable             Disease Control and Prevention, China CDC
     •    Khalid Abdulnoor Saifeldeen, MD, Hamad international Training Center
     •    David Ward, Secretary-General, Global NCAP
     •    Sarah Haverstick, Safety Advocate, Evenflo
     •    Evan Burfield, Cofounder, 1776
     •    Greg Martin, Executive Director, Global Public Policy, General Motors
     •    T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, PhD, MPH, U.S. Director, FIA Foundation
     •    Ann Dellinger, PhD, MPH, Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention Team Lead, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

During the summit, Safe Kids also released “Global Road Safety for Children,” a multi-country research report, combining findings from 6,000 parents surveyed in six countries: Brazil, China, India, Qatar, South Africa, and the United States. The report revealed that more than 90 percent of parents surveyed in Brazil, China, India, Qatar and South Africa want more to be done to improve road safety for children. And in India, 66 percent of parents surveyed think it is likely their child will be seriously hurt in a road traffic crash in the next year.

“This is a wake-up call for all stakeholders,” said Carr. “Before the epidemic of childhood deaths and injuries on our roads spirals out of control, it is the time for us to join hands to comprehensively improve road safety for children. We have it in our power to save the next generation, and we must succeed.”

About Safe Kids Worldwide
Safe Kids Worldwide is a global network of organizations dedicated to providing parents and caregivers with practical and proven resources to protect kids from unintentional injuries, the number one cause of death to children in the United States. Throughout the world, almost one million children die of an injury each year, and almost all of these tragedies are preventable. Safe Kids works with an extensive network of more than 500 coalitions in the United States and with partners in 25 countries to reduce traffic injuries, drownings, falls, burns, poisonings and more. Since 1988, Safe Kids has helped reduce the U.S. childhood death rate from unintentional injury by 56 percent. Working together, we can do much more for kids everywhere. Join our effort at safekids.org.

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Julie Kenneally
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