Press Release: Vision Zero for the Balkans

Belgrade, Serbia , May 17, 2023 – The International Road Federation (IRF Global) and the Serbian Road Traffic Safety Agency (RTSA) concluded a significant regional road safety conference on May 15-16, 2023. The conference emphasized the urgent need for cross-border collaboration, institutional capacity building, and investment in life-saving innovations to address the road traffic injury crisis.

The Balkan region currently experiences a much higher proportion of road crash-related deaths & serious injuries per million inhabitants than the EU27, with approximately 6,500 deaths each year due to road accidents These losses in lives, human capital, and infrastructure represent an enormous cost for communities to bear, and they are largely preventable. Improving road safety through transformative approaches that create a safe mobility system that is forgiving of human error must become a priority for the region’s policymakers and transport professionals.

The event, organized as part of the 7th UN Global Road Safety week, drew participants from 30 countries and was keynoted by Željko Brkić, State Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs; Dmitry Mariyasin, Deputy Executive Secretary, UNECE; Kris Peeters, Vice President, European Investment Bank; Ljuba Siljanoska, Deputy Director, Transport Community; Miroslav Alempić, Assistant Minister for Road Transport, Roads and Road Safety, Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure of the Republic of Serbia as well as senior officials from Balkan road agencies and intergovernmental organizations.

Opening the event, Philip Wijers, Chairman of the IRF Committee on Road Safety, emphasized the challenge at hand and urged for honest and transparent dialogue about the political and financial costs of achieving “Vision Zero” road deaths and serious injuries.
“As one of the world’s leading advocates for safe and sustainable mobility, IRF Global is already actively working with the region’s main transport stakeholders to share best practices with decision-makers, showcase cost-effective solutions, and train practitioners on diagnosing and treating injury risk”, said C. Patrick Sankey, IRF President & CEO.

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