Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Road Safety

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A Quick Introduction to the Global Goals

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Just three years ago in 2015, the United Nations launched what is known as the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs. Commonly referred to as the ‘global goals’, these seventeen goals were designed as a framework for governments, organizations, and even individuals like you and me pursue three broad outcomes: to end extreme poverty, to fight inequality and injustice, and to tackle climate change, all by the year 2030.

Each of these seventeen goals breaks down into various targets in support of them. One of these targets is concerned with the issue of road safety, namely Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being.

SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being

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The third Sustainable Development Goal is for Good Health and Well-being. Overall, this goal promotes healthy lifestyles, preventive measures and modern, efficient health care for all people with the intention of reducing preventable deaths across the globe.

After all, good health is one of the most basic rights for all human beings. Without it, it would be very difficult for us to live our lives successfully; children would not be able to obtain education and adults would not be able to earn a proper living to support their families. When people are living healthy lives, they are productive members of society who contribute to their nation’s overall development.

The target

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Under each Sustainable Development Goal are a set of targets aimed at supporting its progress, and Target 3.6 is specifically aimed at reducing road injuries and death. "By 2020," the target states, "halve the number of global death and injuries from road traffic injuries".

But why does any of this matter?

Why it's important

Being included as part of the Sustainable Development Goals is a very big deal. These goals highlight universal issues such as road safety and act as a global standard for government and policymakers to decide where to focus their attention on.

Additionally, the promotion of these goals also encourages automotive manufacturers to follow the highest standards when it comes to building safety in their vehicles, knowing that other players and competitors in the industry are doing the same thing.

Having universal goals like these also make it much easier for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to collaborate among themselves and also with larger corporations for their activities, such as the creation of awareness and also lobbying for better road safety laws and practices.

By identifying other organizations that prioritize the same goals, working together becomes so much easier!

What You Can Do

Governments, corporations, and NGOs are already involved in promoting this and other Sustainable Development Goals, but how can you get involved and help the SDGs in reducing road fatalities?

Here are a few ways:

1. Change starts with you: be a better driver on the road

"Be the change you want to see in the world" is how the famous saying goes. Change starts with you! If you're interested in helping improve road safety wherever you go, make sure that you yourself are following road rules in your area.

Things that people often take for granted, like using seatbelts, using indicators when switching lanes, driving in a calm manner, and even keeping yourself energized during long trips all go a long way towards keeping everyone on the road safe!

2. Volunteer with NGOs that support better road safety

If you'd like to take it a step further, volunteer time, energy, or even resources towards NGOs that focus on this very issue.

A quick Google search will show you all of the road safety NGOs that exist in Malaysia.

3. Spread the word!

Encourage your friends, classmates, colleagues, and even family members to follow road safety rules and practice good driving habits! Odds are you have accounts on a few social media platforms, and this is a great way of spreading the word about this SDG and target that you care about.

The government, lawmakers, corporations and NGOs are doing everything they can to create safer roads for all of us, but at the end of the day, real change is only possible when road users themselves take the initiative to become better drivers for the benefit of all.