Road safety is critical to protecting lives and livelihoods on the world’s transport network. IOE proposes concrete ways to reinforce prevention.
Nearly 3,700 people die each day on the world’s roads. Millions more are injured or permanently disabled according to the World Health Organization. Accidents of commercial road transport vehicles are particularly devastating. In the US alone some 5,000 people die annually due to traffic accidents with freight vehicles.
Tragically, since the adoption of Sustainable Development Goal 3, which aims to halve the number of road traffic fatalities by 2020, no progress has been observed. The number of road traffic deaths has even increased in some countries. This situation not only represents an unacceptable human toll but also results in significant economic and social losses that must be addressed.
And while emerging new technologies such as vehicle automation may reduce the overall number of accidents, they will not resolve all road safety challenges and may potentially create new ones.
Ensuring occupational safety and health in commercial road transport is a priority shared by workers, employers, and governments. Driver fatigue, driver distraction and lack of training are some of the most common causes of commercial vehicle accidents. By reinforcing a culture of prevention, concrete moves towards meeting SDG Target 3.6 can be made.
IOE, together with its members, is advocating for practical actions to strengthen occupational safety and health in the commercial road vehicle sector. These actions include:
- Sustainable infrastructure: Investments in sustainable and resilient infrastructures should be a priority for governments. The quality of infrastructures is the main factor contributing to road safety. This includes road conditions and the quality of parking and services areas.
- More training: There is an ever-increasing need for training, especially in the context of technological changes. The lack of training in digital tech for the workforce has become a challenge to ensure behaviours and attitudes fostering a safe working environment.
- Law enforcement: Effective enforcement of safety laws and prevention programmes through well-resourced labour inspectors is needed. This also includes establishing, regularly updating and enforcing existing policy frameworks
- Public awareness: Raising public awareness is essential to implement preventive measures minimising risks.
Occupational safety and health on the world’s roads are everybody’s business. Full implementation of these proposals requires a joint commitment from workers, employers and governments.
IOE will work closely with the International Labour Organization and a group of experts to adopt a code of practice which will provide guidance on the promotion of decent work and road safety for the entire industry. Employers are looking to establish actionable recommendations and foster national solutions to labour-related health and safety aspects along the lines of the solutions proposed earlier.
This code could be a concrete step towards achieving our goal of cutting by half the number of road traffic fatalities and more generally, ensuring high levels of occupational safety and health for all.