Ban Ki-moon: WE DISAPPROVE OF THE CAR LOBBY APPOINTED AS UN SPECIAL ENVOY ON ROAD SAFETY

Ban Ki-moon: WE DISAPPROVE OF THE CAR LOBBY APPOINTED AS UN SPECIAL ENVOY ON ROAD SAFETY – Sign the petition here

Dear Mr Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,

We strongly disapprove of the appointment of Jean Todt as head of the International Automobile Federation for UN Special Envoy on Road Safety.

Every four minutes a child is prematurely lost on the roads somewhere in the world. Many, many more are injured, often severely. Many of the children who are victims of this man-made calamity are poor – 95% of road traffic fatalities among children occur in low- and middle-income countries: rapid motorization is the main culprit. More than a million people die every year and millions are injured around the world. Since the invention of the automobile more than 40 million people died and many more were injured due to excessive speed. A paradigm shift is desperately needed to ensure that roads everywhere serve the needs of, and are safe for all those who use them, including children, especially the most vulnerable users such as pedestrians and cyclists.

Our Association (MUBi.pt) is not against cars or the automobile industry and motor sports in closed circuits. However, we strongly believe that a genuine willingness to pursue a true and sustainable road danger reduction implies necessarily that the world’s governments drastically change their transportation policies, making safety and sustainable mobility a top priority. This will imply:

a) to discourage the unnecessary use of motor transport where alternative, benign modes of public transport are equally or more viable;
b) to atively promote walking and cycling, which pose little threat to other road users, by taking positive and co-ordinated action to increase the safety and mobility of these benign modes;
c) to pursue a transport strategy for environmentally sustainable travel based on developing efficient, integrated public transport systems.

Many of these policies will imply to defend strong measures restricting car-usage and drastic speed management for motor vehicles. We have no reason to doubt that Jean Todt is a highly competent president of FIA and manager of Formula 1 motor races. But appointing someone that is the head of “…a global organisation that aims to safeguard the rights and promote the interests of motorists and motor sport all across the world” sends the wrong message to the world because it is precisely this biased point of view that can oppose the aims of a genuine and sustainable road danger reduction.

FIA also includes in its by-laws that their first mission is “upholding the interests of its members in all international matters concerning automobile mobility and tourism and motor sport”. We also do not have any reasons to doubt the commitment of Jean Todt to defend motorists’ interests and their safety. However, as head of FIA Todt legitimately represents a “group of interests” which will raise discomfort among our members and fears of future conflicts of interest defending the most vulnerable and most sustainable road users around the world.

The millions of people that will lose their lives or remain seriously injured around the world, too often due to inappropriate speed by motor vehicles, deserve better.

Sign the petition here