Journalism Contest Winners Highlight the Human Toll of Poor Road Safety Around the Globe

Winners of the 2021 ICFJ Road Safety Reporting Contest shone a light on a standstill in road safety initiatives in Bangladesh, new bike lanes in Brazil, and the immense human toll of road accidents globally, especially in the developing world.

Over 1.3 million people die in road traffic crashes every year, with more than nine in ten deaths occurring in low and middle-income countries, WHO data shows. Road traffic injuries are the biggest killer of children and young people globally and up to 50 million people are injured in road accidents every year.

“Road safety remains a salient issue globally,” said Johanna Carrillo, vice president of programs for the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ). “In-depth, solutions-oriented news coverage is critical for bringing attention to this important yet often under-reported topic.”

The contest was supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and a distinguished panel of judges from WHO and ICFJ selected three winners from six countries with high numbers of deaths – Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, India, and Uganda. The first-place winners will receive a prize of $1,500, the second-place - $1,000, and the third-place - $500.

“The winning entries mark some of the best global coverage on road safety, and will help push for progress on building road safety systems to reduce the shocking and tragic toll on our roads that we all use every day,” said Dr Nhan Tran, WHO’s Head of Safety and Mobility.

The ICFJ Road Safety Reporting Contest was part of a larger program designed to increase the quality and quantity of news coverage on key road safety issues in 15 countries that are covered by the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety.

"One of the best possible ways to save and improve lives is to make our streets safer, but that work doesn't get anywhere near the attention it deserves. World class journalism like this is crucial in raising awareness and pushing governments to prioritize road safety," says Kelly Larson, who directs Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety.

With partners and governments, the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative focuses on five key areas: strengthening national legislation; enhancing data collection and surveillance; changing road user behavior; and improving road infrastructure and upgrading vehicle safety.

 

Bangladesh

1st place - In “All initiatives for safe roads at a standstill”, Anowar Hossain from Prothom Alo describes how government officials have abandoned road safety measures in Bangladesh under pressure from conflicting voting blocks.

2nd place - Tuhin Shubhra Adhikary from The Daily Star, “Deaths on roads jump by 40%”

3rd place - Zakir Hossain Chowdhury from New Nation, “Every day 18 people killed in road accidents”

 

Brazil

1st place - In “Why Dutra is the region with the most accidents in Guarulhos” Cleberson Santos, Katia Flora, and Renan Omura from Agencia Mural investigate what factors contribute to a high rate of road accidents on the Dutra highway in Sao Paulo

2nd place - Adriana Bernardes, Jéssica Eufrásio, Pedro Grigori, and Samara Schwingel from Correio Brazilience, “To reduce traffic fatalities, the government needs to encourage non-motorized mobility”

3rd place - Rogério Viduedo, Giuliana Pompeu, and George Queiroz from Agencia Envolverde, “1 year after the implementation of the cycle lane on Avenida Rebouças, in São Paulo”

 

Colombia

1st place - Santiago Cruz Hoyos from El Pais investigates road safety in Cali, the biggest city in southern Colombia, in “Every 32 hours someone dies in Cali on a sinister road”

2nd place - Julián Alberto Collazos Saavedra from Noticias RCN, “The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims report”

3rd place - German Sarmiento Aparicio from miBLOGotá, “Thousands of lives lost: the cost of machismo in the streets”

 

Ghana

1st place - Seth Kwame Boateng from JoyNews examines the toll road accidents have on children in Ghana in   “Crushed Young: Child fatalities due to road accidents”

2nd place - Emmanuel Kwasi Debrah from My Joy Online, “When the truck is long: Ghana’s outdated roads”

3rd place - Kester Aburam Korankye from Graphic Online, “Attaining efficient public transport system: Has BRT collapsed?”

 

India

1st place - In “Why road agencies don’t pay for accidents,”  Dipak Dash from Times of India investigates how road agencies avoid responsibility for road accidents.

2nd place - Nitasha Natu from Times of India, “Mumbai: Zipping vehicles wreck human lives! Today, time to mull over it”

3rd place - Kartik Kumar from Hindustan Times, “Zero fatalities at Khandsa Chowk since FOB was opened in July 2020”

 

Uganda

1st place - Henry Mugenyi from Next Media Uganda sheds lights on the efforts to reform compensation policies that families of victims of road accidents are entitled to in Uganda in “Road Traffic Crashes: After an Accident who alerts the Next of Kin?”

2nd place - Zurah Nakabugo from The Observer, “Road crashes kill more than Covid-19”

3rd place - Geoffrey Mutegeki Araali from New Vision, “Why you should speak up against a reckless driver”

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