Describing road accident related deaths as a 'global crisis', the UN chief has said more needed to be done to tackle traffic deaths in which more than a million people die every year world-wide.
"Each year, more than one million people are killed in traffic accidents – more than deaths from malaria or diabetes. This conference is long overdue," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a message at the First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Moscow.
The UN chief said the vast majority of accidents are in low and middle-income countries. In addition to deaths, some 50 million people are severely injured, costing governments one to three per cent of their gross national products.
"Behind these staggering statistics lie the enormous suffering and grief that road accidents inflict on families and communities," he said.
"Our lives have come to depend on mobility. But mobility should not come at such a high price."
The Secretary General also said more needed to be done to limit the economic and emotional devastation caused by poor road safety, while creating sustainable transport systems that protect the environment from climate change.