Pirelli joins the UN’s push for road safety

The United Nations has a new initiative to cut road accidents

Home life Pirelli joins the UN’s push for road safety
Pirelli joins the UN’s push for road safety

Pirelli has joined a new United Nations body that is aiming to accelerate progress in improving global road safety and has pledged $600,000 to help its work – the first tyremaker to do so.

The United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund believes that while there is increasing recognition of the need to improve road safety, the world is still not on track to halve the number of road-traffic deaths by 2020 – the target set out in the organisation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It blames a lack of funding at the local, national, regional and global levels and says it will focus on strengthening the capacity of government agencies, local governments and city authorities to develop and implement road safety programmes, especially in low and middle-income countries.

“I welcome this important pledge from Pirelli to the United Nations Road Safety Trust Fund,” stated the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, Jean Todt. “With momentum building, I call on the support of other donors so that we may scale up the resources urgently required for action to address the critical road-safety situation.” 

Road safety is fundamental 
Hailing the fund as an “important initiative”, Marco Tronchetti Provera, executive vice chairman and CEO of Pirelli, said that road safety is fundamental for Pirelli, which has longstanding collaborations with international institutions such as the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile – FIA – that are working for greater road safety. 

The company’s foremost concern as a leading tyremaker is to increase driving safety, principally through the application of innovative technologies, which have recently been added to with the launch of two smart tyre products – Connesso and CyberCar – that ensure optimal performance and safety. Both are based on tyres with embedded sensors that monitor information, such as its pressure, temperature and wear, in real time. In the case of Connesso, the information is sent to the driver’s smartphone through a dedicated app, while with Cyber Car it is sent directly to the vehicle’s onboard electronic systems. 

Pressing challenge
According to UN data, an estimated 1.25 million people are killed every year in road accidents and up to 50 million more are injured. In addition to the human cost this also causes significant economic losses creating an estimated $1.85 trillion burden on the global economy. As a result, the UN says addressing road safety is one of the most pressing social, economic, health and development challenges of our time.

The UN Road Safety Trust Fund, which was established earlier this year, aims to tap new resources to stimulate effective action on cutting road accidents. It will support steps aligned with the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, which is looking to strengthen road-safety management capacities, improve the safety of road infrastructure and broader transport networks, enhance vehicle safety, improve the behaviour of road users and improve post-crash care.

Pirelli joins the FIA Foundation as an early donor to the fund. Filippo Bettini, the company’s chief sustainability and risk governance officer, has been nominated for a seat on the fund’s advisory board.

Working together
“Throughout our history, we have been dedicated to the constant improvement of tyre safety and we are now moving into the area of intelligent tyres with the greater monitoring and ecosystem communication capabilities they bring,” said Bettini. “However, as important as individual efforts are, it is clear that collaboration – with government agencies, associations, advocacy groups – is the key to significantly reducing the number of road accidents globally.”

Road safety targets are set in two of the 17 UN SDGs adopted by UN member states in 2015, and which form part of Pirelli’s latest Sustainability Plan 2017-20.

Among other measures on road safety, Pirelli supports the FIA’s Action for Road Safety campaign, both its high-level advocacy and concrete on-the-ground projects, and is a participant in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Simplify Project for the development of sustainable and safe mobility in cities around the world.

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