Sobel: Much has been accomplished, but so much more remains to be done. We shall do it in our children’s memory and in their honor.
WASHINGTON (May 30, 2013) – Road crashes remain the single greatest killer of Americans traveling abroad, said Rochelle Sobel, president of the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), in remarks at its annual fund-raising event in the nation’s capital on May 20.
“Poor roads, unroadworthy vehicles, irresponsible driver behaviors and inadequate enforcement continue to shatter dreams and destroy lives,” said Sobel, who founded ASIRT in 1995 following the death of her son, Aron Sobel, and 22 other passengers from a bus crash in Turkey.
The gala theme, Global Crossroads to a Safe Future, builds on the steady momentum of change established by the international and U.S. road safety communities, including the United Nation’s General Assembly, which declared 2011-2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety. Five honorees were recognized at the gala for their individual and organizational efforts to advance ASIRT’s mission of improving global road safety.
“If we achieve our goal, we will save 5 million lives and prevent 50 million injuries,” Sobel said. “Nearly 100 countries have launched the Decade of Action for Road Safety, each committing its government to take evidence based and proven steps to improve road safety. ASIRT is proud of the pivotal role it plays in these and many other milestones.”
“There are many reasons to be hopeful. Much has been accomplished, but so much more remains to be done,” Sobel added. “We shall do it in our children’s memory and in their honor.”
U.S. Rep Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) received ASIRT’s Congressional Leadership in Global Road Safety Award. In his opening remarks Van Hollen said fatalities caused by road crashes are preventable and lives can be saved if both the international and U.S. focus their attention on the issue.
“One person can change the world. ASIRT demonstrates that this is true,” added Van Hollen, co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Global Road Safety. “It’s a tribute to ASIRT that we are making progress on this issue, and that we are beginning to see the results.”
Jack Hanley accepted ASIRT’s Global Leadership Award on behalf of the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), which is an employer-led partnership dedicated to improving the safety and health of employees by preventing traffic crashes on and off the job.
“NETS is absolutely honored to stand side by side with ASIRT,” said Hanley, executive director of NETS.
Douglas Greenhaus, chief regulatory counsel of environment, health and safety for the National Automobile Dealers Association, received ASIRT’s Industry Leadership Award.
“In a world of limited resources, the focus must be on strategies designed to reduce road deaths and injuries in the most cost effective manner possible,” Greenhaus said. “This is exactly what ASIRT is doing.”
David and Shadia Blanchard received the Aron Sobel Guardian Award for their work to improve pedestrian safety in Egypt. They founded the Egyptian Society for Road Safety, which built a pedestrian safety bridge in the country after their daughter was killed at a crossing.
“The three E’s – engineering, education and enforcement,” are key components to improve the safety of pedestrians on roadways across the globe, Mr. Blanchard said. Inspired by the work of ASIRT, Mrs. Blanchard spoke about her daughter for the first time since her death nine years ago.
Contact: Julie F. Rosenbaum Skolnick
Director, Development and Marketing
ASIRT-Association for Safe International Road Travel
12320 Parklawn Dr.
Rockville, MD 20852-1726