WASHINGTON DC, April 6, 2010 – The World Bank’s Board of Directors approved a US$30 million loan today, aimed at reducing the number and seriousness of traffic accidents in Argentina’s road system, a South American country that registers a death rate from traffic accidents of 18.7 per 100,000 inhabitants, one of the highest in the region.
“The project we are undertaking with the World Bank is essential in promoting the actions needed to reduce the number and seriousness of traffic accidents in Argentina. These funds will allow us to support and work in coordination with provinces, municipalities and NGOs with the intention of reducing this pandemic,” maintained Felipe Rodríguez Laguens, Executive Director of the National Road Safety Agency, part of the Interior Ministry.
The objective of the Traffic Safety Project is to carry out three main activities:
- Consolidate the National Traffic Safety Agency’s (ANSV, in Spanish) leadership;
- Achieve specific road safety improvements in high-risk pilot road corridors; and
- Upgrade monitoring and evaluation systems to improve results.
“We need to strengthen road safety management in the country, financially supporting the recently created National Traffic Safety Agency so that it can lead and coordinate policies in this area,” maintained Verónica Raffo, Infrastructure Specialist and Project Manager for the World Bank.
In addition to strengthening the National Traffic Safety Agency (ANSV), it will support the creation of a Single Driver’s License, carry out awareness and educational campaigns, and improve the response capacity to emergencies and traffic control.
It will also finance initiatives that have a verifiable impact on road safety. On the one hand, it will implement the Pilot Corridor Program in stretches of national highways 11, 14 and 35, already identified as high risk. On the other, it will establish an Incentive Fund, destined for provinces and municipalities that implement innovative road safety initiatives.
With regards to monitoring and evaluation, it will strengthen the National Road Safety Observatory, which will be in charge of gathering, analyzing and monitoring national statistics, investigating traffic accidents and road infrastructure, among other data.
The loan also foresees a competitive fund for NGOs working on road safety, which will finance social awareness initiatives in order to generate changes in behavior.
Traffic safety is a social and public health problem. In 2008, some 7,500 people died as a result of traffic accidents, and more than 95,000 were injured. Moreover, according to World Bank studies, traffic accidents in Latin America will increase 50% by 2020 unless road safety efforts are scaled up.
The Project will be financed by a mixed-margin, US$30 million loan, with a 30-year maturity period and a 5-year grace period.