Covid-19 focus should also be applied to reduce road deaths

Former Ferrari team boss Jean Todt highlights that more people die on roads on average each day than have died of coronavirus.

International efforts to contain coronavirus fatalities show what is possible with strong Governmental leadership – and what could be achieved if a similar focus was put on to reducing road fatalities, Jean Todt, president of road safety and motorsport body the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) has said.

Highlighting that in 2020 there have been an average of 3800 deaths a day on the roads – more than the typical daily average globally for coronavirus – Todt said, speaking to “Our goal to reduce today’s road death rate by half by 2030 is ongoing, but one thing we have learned during this lockdown is that when Governments really look to apply rules then they can enjoy great success.

“Of course, I am not wanting to draw comparisons – road deaths have fallen in line with restrictions during this terrible crisis – but what is clear is that we have seen that, with the right prescriptions, things that didn’t seem possible can be achieved.”

Todt also highlighted the long-term changes to transport and mobility that could spring from coronavirus lockdowns, noting that “nobody could have predicted that the world would be almost free from traffic jams and pollution for a period” but added that it was too early to say what long-term changes could result from it.

“On one hand people have realised how important freedom is, and I hope they remember that,” said Todt. “But I must say I am also sceptical on how long some of the impacts will last. Already it seems clear people won’t like getting on public transportation, so they’ll probably end up taking their own transport, creating jams and increasing pollution again.

“It is understandable, but it is also important to recognise that we must be part of the solution. All of the FIA member clubs can play a role in that and we must look to what can be achieved.”

Dieter Rencken

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