tv United Nations 21st Century LINKTV December 2, 2016 4:30am-5:01am PST
[music] narrator: today on "21st century," a global epidemic-- death on the world's roads. can we bring the numbers down? amy: she was our rambunctious, happy little girl, and she'd stand up on the 44 bus and sing g "the wheels on the bs go 'round and 'round." narrator: one and a quarter million deaths on the world's
roads every year. kholwe: when i looked at the boy, i i thought it was overer. man: and here i'm lying with a broken neck, because i got into a crash 'cause i got distracted and i had a crash. was it worth making the call? the answer's no. narrator: the struggle to make our roads safer around the globebe. [music]
amy: she was our rambunctious, happy little girl, and she'd stand up on the 44 bus and sing "the wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round." hsi-pei: she would stand up to someone who was bigger than her and, you know-- amy: in the playgrground she would stand up and put her hanas on her hips. hsi-pei:i: and look up at theme. [both laugh] amy: she was kind of--
hsi-pei: she was like, you move over because i'm coming through. amy: i'm coming through. hsi-pei: um...hmm. mother: i don't know where she got that personality. [both laugh] hsi-pei: i guess there's a one in a millionon chance that there happens to be a driver driving up to where my daughter was being run over. and from what i understand, there was a family member that had a dash cam installed. grandma was walking mymy daught, and it had where she was so close to her, you couldn't see where my daughter is. and a car coming over making a left turn, and all you know is heent over something. grandma getknocked down, and she hits the floor, and then you see the back tire go over something. amy: you know, i was probably screaming and crying, and then
we walk into a room with like 15 doctors. you think it's maybe a dream or something, a nightmare. hsi-pei: i mean, it was a lot to take in, thinking your daughter was safe with grandma at her house, expecting to go see her for dinner and having the rest of the family being there, to all of a sudden your daughter doesn't exist anymore. narrator: after hsi-pei and amy lost their daughter allisoson, they decidided they had to doo something. hsi-pei: i think for me, a lot of it is trying to understand what happened, how could it happen, and find meaning behind it, how to prevent this from happening. we still have a son. we lateter had another child. s, there's--you know, there's just meaning behind this from preventing it from happening ever again for our family. amy: i'm sorry.
all: safe streets! narrator: they helped found an effective campaigning group, families for safe streets in new york. amy: basically it's a group that you don't want to be a part of. you're either a family member of someone who died in traffic violence, or you've been severely injured in traffic violence. narrator: they campaign for a lower speed limit in the city. and in late 2014, new york's default speed limit was lowered to 25 miles per hour from 30. but t hsi-pei and amy are stilll angry that the driver who killed their daughter didn't even have to pay a fine, and his license was revoked for a mere 30 days. amy: stories like ours that the driver has struck and killed our daughter happens every day. the difference in our case is that we have a video about it to show that our dadaughter and her grandma were not at fault. but otherwise, this happens all the time, and it's whatever the
driver says is taken as the truth. narrator: for them, and for families for safe streets, it's not a road accident, it's a road crash. the word accident implies too much, but it's an acceptable and inevitable phenomenon. polly: we shouldn't accept any fatality. one life lost on our roadways is one life too many. narrator: hsi-pei and amy are heartened by the fact that new york city has embarked on a campaign called vision zero. the goal--to eliminate road deaths entirely. and in 2015, the city had the lowest number of road fatalities on record at 230. polly: the point of vision zero is we don't accept that fatalities are inevitable. we do believe that we can, between engineering and enforcement and education, the goal is tbrbring that number down to zero. narrator: vision zero is based on the successful swedish model, which brought road fatalities down to the world's lowest level in that country. 2.7 per
100,000 people per year. part of that campaign was to estatablish lower speed limits. polly: we lowered our default speed limit from 30 to 25 miles an hour. we pointed out that if you were involved in a crash where unfortunately you hit someone going 30 miles an hour, you're twice as likely to kill that person as if you hit them at 25. narrator: a second part of successful road safety, engineering, is physically changing the layout of roads. for example, new york's queens boulevard, which had become so notorious dangerous, it was known as the boulevard of death. polly: well, queens boulevard is a very, very challenging roadway, and as you can see, very wide roadway, lots of lanes of traffic, cars driving very quickly. so first of all, we've rationalized the design, closed some of the slip lanes, added a bike lane that you can see behind me, and improved the pedestrian crossing areas so
pedestrians have more space and more time to get across the street. narrator: riding bicycles in new york has increased fourfold since 2000, partly made possible and safer by a multiplicity of new bike lanes like these ones. the city also changed the crossing on which allison died, altering the traffic lights to give pedestrians more time to cross and restricting parking on the corners that block a driver's view. but not all drivers follow the new rules. for example, the car on the left should not be parked on those new white lines. so another allison could be at risk. hsi-pei: new yorkers are always in a hurry. but we challenge drivers to pause and ask, is it worth it? is it worth running over a child because you're runningng late? is it worth picking up the phone when it
could mean a family must pick out a grave for their child? is it worth texting a friend when that message could force a father to text the date and time of their child's funeral? kholwlwe: when i looked at thee boy...when n i looked at the bo, i thought it was over. save us. save us. narrator: was this worth it?
a school and a busy road in khayelitsha township outside cappe town, south afafrica. early one e morning, taxi i wasn a hurry. inga mmatakwana, 5-yyear-old bowalklking withth s 12-year-r-old cousinhhad almostt reached his school, but he got nno further. hector: the taxi driver thought he would bypass the crossing by driving onto the pavement. kholwe: it t took him, , it hit, and the driver hit the child and d then came back, and i'm se he e was just thinking the child was not there, and it came to inga again. hector: inga was pulled d away fromom the cousin who was holdlg his handnd and then dragagged ur the taaxi and run n over again n the taxi i driver reveversed ane wewent forwarard again. t the ti driiver then f fled the scscenet
was later caught and arrested at his home. narrator: many in south africa say that mini b bus taxi drivers are especially reckless. the driver in inga's case was licensed, but many aren't. this mini bus taxi driver agreed to give his views on the problem. driver: you see? interviewer: therere's no traing or anything like that to be a taxi driver? driver: mm...i can say no. [indistinct]
hector: breakiking the law and being seen to get away with it, the bebehavior that's manifested by mini bus taxi drivers is very, very vivisible to o other motorists, and it creates a widespread perception of the lack of enforcement and therefore of a general lawlessness on the road. narrator: in this case, the drdriver was taken to court, bt inially he e remains out of jail, something that infuriatess inga's grandmother. [grandmother speaking local language] [interviewewer speaking l local language] [grandmother speaking local language] interviewer/interpreter: i'm very angry. i want him to be sentenced. i want him to be inside jail and not outside. [grandmother speaking local language]
ininterviewer/inteterpreter: hes a very creative boy. he used to draw and make cars to play with. and he loved food. [laughs] narrator: the driver did eventually receive a 3-year jail sentence. in the meantime, inga's school continues to make huge efforts to protect its children. they organized what's called a scholar patrol to help children crosss the bubusy road. they receive regular training prorovided by the departmentt of transport. nokuzola: the little onenes, the little kids, they are very clole to my heart. if i can keep them safe on the road, i'll be very happy. i will sleepep peacefully at my house knonowing that i've saved so many lives on the road, especially the most v vulnerabl, the littltle children a at primy schools. narrator: one major problem is
alalcohol. up to 50% of f drives killed i in south affrica have blood alcohol lelevels over r te legalal limit, as do o 60% of pedestrians s who die thehe roads. these grim s security camera images werere released as part f a road safety awareneness campan launched by the goverernment of the westetern cape,, which incls cape town. pupublic education is parouount, buinin a coury wheere a major ppart of tthe ppopulation lives in povertyty, it's s hard to get road safetyy high onon the public agenda. hector: ordinary y peoplerere nt motivavated road safetyty as a paparticular r issue. they w wie other societal prprobms that thehey'll identifify before road safefe, and particicularly t ths poverty, equalitity, and employmement. i remember a bail heariring of a a suspect who kid a couple of people, where the magistrate said, it's a tragedy when p people are killed on thte road or people die on the road. but it happened. ththe attitude
prevailing very much that this is just somethihing that is inevitable and that society should accept. narrator: in an attempt to shift attitudes like thesese, the western cape launchehed this ad, fofocusing on seatbelts. singer: ♪ saw a picicture of you the other night ♪ narrator: the e message is t tht a person without a seatbelt cann fly out of their seat and kill the other passengers. singer: ♪ just hold on now hold on tight we can stay together overnight just take my hand take my life we should stay together overnight ♪ [crash]
man: we've gotot 4 dead. they sy the one without the seatbelt did the damage. over. [siren] narrator: but how do you influence people? some research shows that horrifying people without giving them practical tools to avoid road crashes can be counterproductive. . one grop in south africa approaches drivers directly with a positive messagege. ari: morning, sir. we're just creating awareness about r rd safety. no o donation. we're frm thehe quadpara association. we represesent quadriplegics and paraplegics. and we're just ttelling the pubublic that pleae will you sign n a pledge to usue yoyour seatbelt whwhen you driv? narrator: : ari seirlis'' sloga- "b"buckle up, we don'n't want nw members." he's particularly persuasive e about distracted driving, esespecially because of celell phones. ari: why did i make that callll baback to the office, and here'm lyiing with a broken neck ''caue
i got i into a crrash 'cause i t distractcted, and i i had a cra? was it worth making the call? the answer's no. narrator: it's estimated that through loss of earnings and direct costs to the government, south africicloses 10% % of its gdgdeach year to road crarashes. ari: if you become spinal cord injured in south africa, and you have no resources, you become completely dependent on the state. it's gonna cost the state millions. who funds the state? the taxpayers. second of all, if you're working, and you participapate in distracted drivining, and you d don't uuser seatbelt, and you crash, you now can't go back to the workplace. the country cannot afford this amount of road crashes. we've got to stop it somehow. [mususic]
narrator: south africa's rate of road fatalities is the second highest in africa at 32 per 100,000 per year. and it's representatitive of many middle-income countries where populations are growing and more cars are on the road. the united states has a relatively high rate for a developed country at around 11 per 100,000, but the good news is that it's been proven that these figures can be
brought down. [engine revving] apart from world leader sweden, the united kingdom has halved its level to just under 3 per 100,000 in the last decade. the e key elemements were greatr enforcement, road alterations, and public awareness campaigns like this. the video here is taken from a motorcyclist who had a camera on his helmet and recorded his own death. woman: i knknowe rode fast t tht day. he loved speed. the drivevr didn't see h him and turnened rt across his path. david didn't have time to take evasive action. david: whoa!
nanarrator: : given that thehe t 100 years has seen a massive increase in road traffic worldwide, there's now a race between improved road safety on the one hand, and on the e othe, the sheer number of people on the road. in recent years, traffic fatalities have plateaued, but at the enormously high number of 1.25 million a year, with 50 million injured. [horn honks] all experts agree that if this race is to be won, governments have to use a multi-track approach--the 3 e's of enforcement, education, and engineering. this last includes car design. a recent united nations general assembly resolution calls on all car manufacturers to meet minimum u.n. safety standers by 2020.
eddie: i'm looking for any lights that a are visible, and t looks as though we've got a reversing light o on the red jeep... narrator: laws and policies are one, things, but ultimately a great deal depends on the behavior of individuals. and one part of education is helping drivers focus more on safety. eddie: and at the end of the road at the stop sign, i'm going to turn right. so, mirror first, then my signal. my y position's good. it's a an all-way stop si. i'm going to gently bring the car to a standstill, reapply the signal... narrator: the running commentary you're hearing is a technique taught to advanced drivers to increase focus and awareness. eddie: and i'm turning onto a street that's 30 miles per hour. there's a car waiting to come out on the right-hand side. the driver's not looking at me yet, so i want to see them turn their head towards me. there it is, we've now had head contact. narrator: eddie wren is the chief instructor of advanced ddrivers of america. hehe's a formrmer british police officec, member of the traffic escort for
the royal family, and chair of the international ad federatn roadafety grou eddi theher's nescaping the fact thadriving is alwayone of the most dangerous things statistically that you do every day. and most of us drive every day. narrator: lesson one. everybody agrees that texting causes severe driver distraction, but what about phones, hands-free or handheld? ananswer--both are equalally dangerous. eddie: for handheld and hands-free cell phones, research showed that the risk of having a crash while using those phones--a serious or fatal crash--was 4 times higher than for somebody who's not using a phone. narrator: lesson two. how much space should you leave between you and t the car in front of y? answer--3 seconds of driving time. eddie: ththe argument that you don't need a lot of stopping distance because the guyuy ahead
has to brake, 95% of the time, maybe 98% of the time, is perfectly true. but what if? some thinings when you're drivig only have to happen once in your entire driving lifetime, and if youou're not doing it right at that moment, yoyocould die.e. [music] margaret: in every show we deal with statistics, but behind every statistic there's a human being. the people that are lost to road traffic accidents are norormally young people, meanang not just the individual that suffers, but also their family, their relatives. narrator: road fatalities are a major priority for the world health organization, and we are
halfway through the u.n. decade of action for road safety, which was launched in 201111. and onef the new global sustainable development goals, sgg number 3, aims to halve road deaths and injuries by 202020. hsi-pei and amy made their own contribution to enforcement and accountability by bringing a civil suit against the driver who knocked allison down. he's now barred from driving for 5 years and had to pay compensation. their campaign also helped bring in a new law, which means that drivers in new york now face criminal penalties for killing or injuring a pedestrian on a crosswalk. we know how to make our roads safer, but will change come quickly enough to spare more children like allison and inga, along with their families?