Statement by the Head of Delegation at the High-Level Conference on Global Road Safety

Ambassador Lisa Carty
U.S. Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council
New York, New York
June 30, 2022


Mr. President,

We want to express our gratitude to all participants who worked tirelessly to conclude the political declaration, including the Office of the President of the General Assembly, whose stewardship was critical in helping us reach consensus.

The United States is pleased to join other countries in drawing attention to road safety worldwide and supporting the Second Decade of Action. We congratulate this body for identifying this global challenge as a vital element of sustainable development.

We must acknowledge the difficult circumstances we currently face, as this Conference comes at a time when one of our Member States is being attacked by another, its road and transport infrastructure being tragically destroyed. We call on Russia to cease its unjustified and brutal war and withdraw from Ukraine immediately.

Global road safety remains a pressing public health challenge. Worldwide, approximately 1.35 million people are killed in road traffic crashes and millions more are injured every year. Like many countries, the United States has faced increasing fatalities on our roads in recent years.

President Biden has identified the need to improve infrastructure as a major priority. Last fall, the Administration passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill. Road safety and climate are important elements of the law.

In January, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg launched the U.S. National Roadway Safety Strategy, a comprehensive “safe system” approach to slash dramatically injuries and deaths on U.S. roadways, weaving together complementary layers of protection.

Internationally, the United States participates actively in the UN’s World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29), the Global Forum for Road Traffic Safety (WP.1), and in the International Transportation Forum. We support the World Road Association to share data, research, policies, science-based regulations and other expertise.

We continue to assist in building global capacity to conduct critical surveillance, analyze road traffic data, evaluate and integrate road traffic injury surveillance systems, and use data to drive decision-making and disseminate findings and best practices globally.

Just this week, Secretary Buttigieg launched MOMENTUM, an initiative that allows our international partners access to a growing set of resources and technical assistance. Road safety is an important focus of this initiative.

The U.S. government is also proud of recent international collaborative work to improve road safety, bringing together the Centers for Disease Control with other partners.

Some of this collaboration focuses on pedestrian-vehicle traffic conflicts in and around school zones in different regions around the globe. We have also collaborated on a pilot hospital-based road traffic injury surveillance system.

With respect to the Political Declaration before us, we reiterate our concerns about references to legal instruments, agreements, and regulations. Many of the referenced cases were undertaken pursuant to a regional UN sub-organization to which only a smaller number of UN members are contracting Parties.

Such references convey the wrong impression that there are specific “UN-approved” types of standards and regulations. The United States maintains that national governments are best positioned to decide road safety standards and regulations.

In closing, road safety is one of the most fundamental considerations of sustainable development. Making the roads safe for all users, by means that include the growth of alternative modes of transport, must remain central to all our work.

Thank you again, Mr. President.