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In May, I have received my greatest gift: a son. But it was also in May that I have picked him up from the pavement lifeless
It was in May that I have received the greatest gift a mother could get: a son. But it was also in May that I have picked my son up from the pavement, lifeless, in a street of Porto Alegre. Every day, the same incurable pain is felt by parents, siblings, family and friends, that need to learn to bare the unexpected pain of losing a loved one due to road violence.
Approximately 1,3 million people lose their lives to road violence each year all over the world – it is almost as if the whole city of Porto Alegre ceased to exist every twelve months. In an effort to contain this intolerable number of losses, the UN instituted the Decade of Action for Road Safety in May 2011. Then, the Yellow May was founded and the month became a global reference to address the cause. The color yellow was convened to refer to the notion of caution in the road context.
The UN goal for the Decade is challenging for governments and the society: to reduce by 50% the estimative of deaths by 2020. In the state of Rio Grande do Sul, although we can notice a clear downward trend when taking into account the last ten years, there is nothing to celebrate. There are so many lives, most of them of young people, lost in circumstances that could mostly be avoided, originated from risky behavior.
To the State, it must address the matter in a consistent and continued manner, with actions based on absolute empathy and sensibility. To the drivers, riders, motorcyclists, pedestrians and bikers, they need to understand the true risks involved in this web of fleeting relations, but potentially damaging, that the traffic represents. We must not rest, whether in May or in any other month, whether in this or another decade. The yellow light keeps on and flashing right before our eyes. We all shall have attitude!
Diza Gonzaga
Founder of Thiago Gonzaga Foundation and Institutional Director of Department of Traffic of Rio Grande do Sul
*Article published in Zero Hora in May 8th, 2019