The International Road Federation (IRF) has given its prestigious annual road safety accolade, the Find A Way Award, to Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport for its consistent efforts to reduce traffic accidents.
The Find a Way Award was instituted as part of the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 by the IRF’s chairman, Abdullah Al-Mogbel, in recognition of the value of political leadership in driving road traffic injury reduction strategies. Every year, the award distinguishes outstanding personal commitment to safer roads by a local or national government on the anniversary of the launch of the Decade of Action.
Korea has introduced a series of traffic safety initiatives, including:
Compulsory use of safety belts for all seats on all roads;
Enforcement of dangerous driving offenses, such as signal and lane violation and drunk driving;
Improvements to infrastructure at high collision locations;
Implementation of training programs for elderly drivers;
Spread of traffic safety culture through advertising campaigns.
“Korea’s leadership and track record over the last 25 years in curbing traffic injuries is truly impressive, and serves as an inspiration for other governments and the global community of road safety professionals,” noted IRF president C Patrick Sankey. “The Find A Way Award embodies the idea that governments everywhere have an important opportunity and responsibility to weigh in the broader policy directions and examine ways to prevent what has become a global public health crisis.”
Receiving the award for the Ministry, Assistant Minister Jeong-ryeol Kim said, “I am very proud to be part of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety and to receive this award as the leader in road safety. In Korea, the number of traffic accident fatalities has been steadily decreasing over the last years. In particular, the road traffic accident death rate decreased by 7.1% in 2016. It is a very significant record in that it represents the highest reduction rate since 2004. Our continuous efforts in the past to reduce the number of road deaths and serious injuries is finally deriving fruitful outcomes.
“In 2016, we established ‘Comprehensive Measures to Reduce Traffic Accident Fatalities’. It highlighted many road safety initiatives, such as enforcement of traffic laws and promotion of traffic safety culture and education nationwide. I hope that Korea could serve as an excellent example to inspire other countries to achieve our mutual goals of making safer roads and saving countless lives.”