APRSO Annual Meeting Day 1: Consistent Data Collection Key to Changing Policy and Saving Lives

On day one of the Asia Pacific Road Safety Observatory’s inaugural annual meeting, 130 registered attendees from across 32 member countries and partner organisations gathered on Zoom to discuss the challenge of collecting and collating road safety data for more informed policy making.

The meeting was opened by Jamie Leather, Chief of Transport Sector Group for ADB, also the current secretariat of APRSO. Jamie took the opportunity to remind delegates of the opportunity we all have, as part of the observatory, to save lives and suffering through policy implementation during this, the 2nd Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021 - 2030.

The rest of the meeting has kindly been summarised by Maria Segui Gomez, Special Advisor for Road Safety at FIA, below:

The meeting kicked off with a sober reminder of the fact that throughout the world, and within the Asian Pacific region, the methods to count and report on road fatalities need improvements in many places to reduce the almost twofold difference between country-reported counts and WHO estimated counts,  as per the 2018 WHO Global Status Report. This was followed with the concrete example of a collaboration with the Russian Federation to address these discrepancies in the country.  WHO is delighted to work with other countries in this matter.

The meeting then moved on to cover crash-related data reporting efforts. We learned about the recent effort of the 10 ASEAN member countries to homogenize their data collection. This effort was supported by ITF. This was followed by the presentation of the APRSO-led effort to define the minimum road safety and other road safety indicators for all APRSO member countries, currently at 20.

After the break we learnt about three concrete experiences from Nepal, Azerbaijan, and Cambodia. The Nepal presentation was focused on the role of alcohol in crashes in the country.  We were informed of several recent legal and technical developments leading to breathalyzer tests throughout the country. 

Figures shared showed some 7 to 10% of drivers in crashes tested positive for alcohol.  Fortunately, joining APRSO can assist countries to expedite implementation of measures on areas like drinking and driving and on the methodologies not only to detect BAC levels but to do the calculations to work out the percentage of road deaths attributable to alcohol, or any other risk factor.

The Azerbaijan and Cambodia presentations had a broader focus on the general state of road crashes in the former and the general state of data collection in the latter.  During the process we learnt that in Cambodia 75% of road fatalities are motorcycle riders and about 46% of drivers were wearing a helmet at the time of crash, a substantial increase from previous years.  

In any event, it is clear to all that the three examples share a true concern for more and better road safety intervention selection and the importance of data to drive that selection process.

The following discussion concentrated on the fact that it seems none of the 20 countries collect information on speed. There was also an interactive moment with an online survey to address issues on speed, drink driving, helmet wearing, safety belts and alcohol.

The discussion continues tomorrow with more coverage, here on www.aprso.org.

Contact Person

Neal Moore
Asian Development Bank
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