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IDB unveils action plan to improve road safety in Latin America and the Caribbean

CANCÚN, Mexico – The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has unveiled a comprehensive action plan to improve road safety in Latin America and the Caribbean that will support countries’ efforts to reduce the number of road accidents by half in the next decade.

Road accident fatalities in Latin America and the Caribbean are almost double the world average, amounting to 17 deaths per 100,000. If current trends continue, fatalities could rise to 31 per 100,000 by 2020.

Road accidents are the leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds in the region, and the second leading cause of death for those aged 5 to 14. Pedestrians, bikers and motorcycle riders account for more than half of road fatalities. Latin American countries may lose between 1 percent and 2 percent of their annual gross domestic product because of the injuries and deaths caused by road accidents.

“This is a preventable human tragedy that takes a huge economic toll on Latin America,” said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. “What we need today are coordinated policies and programs that involve all the key stakeholders: governments, investors, regulators, educators and citizens who want safer streets.”

Under the plan, the IDB will help countries develop and upgrade plans to improve road safety conditions and reduce mortality rates and work with governments and other public and private partners to mobilize resources for road safety initiatives. The plan also calls for the inclusion of road safety features in Bank-financed infrastructure and transportation projects as well other projects that are not financed by the IDB.

The IDB will help countries develop and promote a road safety among several economic sectors. The Bank will support the preparation of national road safety strategies and action plans and promote public education campaigns and the dissemination of new technologies that can increase the safety of new vehicles produced in the region.

In addition, the IDB is joining The Global Helmet Vaccine Initiative (GHVI) to promote motorcycle helmet use across the developing world. The two organizations will work jointly on a pilot project to encourage policy changes and investment decisions that can lead to increased and sustainable motorcycle helmet use in several countries in Latin America. GHVI, established by the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIP Foundation), works in partnership with governments, the private sector and nongovernmental organizations. It has implemented a successful national helmet campaign in Vietnam.

The new framework will enhance ongoing IDB projects in the field and expand the effectiveness of the Bank’s development actions, according to José Agustín Aguerre, Manager of Infrastructure and Environment Sector at the IDB. Last year the Bank approved its first ever project dedicated primarily to improving road safety in the region and the IDB is working with several institutions to mobilize resources and knowledge to support road safety in the region, he said.

With the action plan, the IDB is following up on commitments made during the first Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety, held last November in Moscow, and during the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative conference. The Bank has committed to work with other multilateral organizations to improve road safety conditions around the world and seek innovative programs and solutions to reduce mortality on the region’s roads.

Ongoing IDB road safety projects:

  • IDB approved its first ever road safety project in December by granting Jamaica a $10 million loan to improve road safety and transportation conditions for the country’s 2.7 million inhabitants.
  • Supporting action plans to improve road safety in Uruguay, El Salvador, Peru, Costa Rica, in the Brazilian cities of Belem do Pará and Brasilia; and Cali in Colombia.
  • Formed a partnership with the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society of the United Kingdom to promote road safety in Latin America and the Caribbean. In their first project, the IDB and FIA will develop a program to provide a realistic and independent assessment of the safety performance of some of the most popular cars sold in the region, similar to the Euro NCAP initiative in Europe.
  • Agreement with the International Road Assessment Program (iRAP) to foster road safety evaluations of the main roads in the Region.
  • Partnering with the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL) to help countries set targets to reduce road accidents.
  • Partnering with the World Health Organization to create a regional road safety information system that will improve data collection on road accidents and deaths and promote studies about best policies and practices to improve road safety in the region.

To join this effort, please contact Partnership Officer Matías Bendersky ( and fill in the Road Safety Commitment Form.


FTP and MP3 files, videos, photos and documents. In addition, the IDB will provide satellite broadcasting of the event.

Gabriela Herrera,, (202) 538-3040
Carla Coolman,, (202) 623-1423

For more information (in Spanish and English) go to the Annual Meeting website.

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