|Statement by Counselor Bohua Xie of the Chinese Delegation on Road Safety (Agenda item 60) at the 60th Session of the General Assembly|
The Chinese delegation would like to thank the Secretary General for transmitting the report of the World Health Organization on the Global Road Safety Crisis (A/60/181).At the same time, my delegation would also like to thank the government of Oman for its contributions in promoting the consideration of this issue by the General Assembly. We are very pleased to co-sponsor the draft resolution proposed by Oman once again.
Road traffic injuries have become an ever more serious public health problem. Each year nearly 1.2 million people die and 50 million more are injured or disabled as a result of road incidents, causing over $500 billion worth of losses, including about $65 billion in developing countries, twice the annual amount received in development assistance. According to the projection of WHO, unless effective measures are taken by 2020, road traffic injuries could rank the third among the lethal causes endangering human health, bringing about serious economic and social impacts to all nations, particularly the developing countries. Reducing road traffic incidents is important to poverty eradication, reduction of child mortality and sustainable development and should receive great attention by the international community.
In the process of the development of road transport, many countries will go through a period with high rates of road traffic incidents, the main reason being that during the process of rapid economic development, the conditions of road transport, its management and human behavior often cannot adept to the rapid increase of motorized vehicles. This phenomenon can be described as a frustrating by-product of the economic development. However, as rightly pointed out by the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention, road traffic injuries can largely be prevented and controlled through rational analysis and countermeasures. Countries should make joint efforts to improve road safety by exchanging experiences, learning from each other and applying best practices. Due to the constraint of their economic development, the developing countries tend to suffer far greater losses caused by road traffic injuries than the developed countries. There is an urgent need to improve the infrastructure and the management of road transport of the developing countries. The international community should provide more assistance in terms of funding, technology and training.
The sustained economic development in China has also brought about significant development in its road construction. As of now, China has 30,000 kilometers of highways and the proportion of privately owned vehicles continues to grow. At the same time, China is also a road-traffic-incident-prone country, especially serious incidents with heavy casualties. The underlying causes for this problem lie in the scanty awareness of the law and regulations regarding road safety, poor road conditions and traffic environment as well as inadequate management.
The Chinese government attaches great importance to road traffic safety. Its Road Traffic Safety Act came into force on May 1, 2004. With the protection of human safety as its primary objective, the new law institutionalizes various preventive measures as legal provisions. As a result of its implementation over the past year, a number of positive results have already been achieved. In 2004, there were 567,753 road traffic incidents in China, causing 99,217 deaths, 451,810 injuries and 2.77 billion RMB Yuan in direct property costs. As compared with 2003, the year 2004 registered a significant 14.9% reduction in road traffic incidents, 4.9% decline in fatality, 8.6% drop in injuries and 17.6% decrease in costs. Its record low 9.2 per 10,000 car death rate in 2004 placed China, for the first time, among countries with a single digit fatality rate. We are convinced that through the joint efforts of the Chinese government and people, significant improvement will continue to be achieved in the road safety in China.
Thank you, Mr. President.