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New research shows road accidents kill over a million people worldwide

| March 20, 2013 | 1 Comment
Road Accident

Accident in Bangalore, India (image via The Hindu).

Road disasters happen, whether you live in a two stoplight town in rural New England or drive an auto rickshaw in populous Bangalore, India. However, new research by the Worldwide Health Organization reveals the alarming statistic that an astonishing 1.24 million people died on the world’s roads in 2010. Learning that road traffic deaths are the leading cause of death for 15-29 year olds and the 8th leading cause of death globally is staggering. Part of the tragedy stems from the fact that unlike deadly diseases or natural disasters, road traffic fatalities are much more preventable. The WHO’s report, published on March 14th, 2013, reveals these sobering statistics behind traffic fatalities around the globe:

  • 80% of global road traffic fatalities occur in middle-income countries, with a per capita gross national income of $1, 026 to $12, 475. Though these countries boast 72% of the world’s population, they have only 52% of the world’s registered vehicles.
  • Half of all road traffic deaths involve motorcyclists (23%), pedestrians (22%), and cyclists (5%). These are known as vulnerable road users.
  • Africa is the region with the highest road traffic fatality rate, with 24.1 measured road traffic deaths per every 100,000 in the population. The lowest measured road traffic fatality rate was Europe’s, clocking in at 10.3 road traffic deaths per 100,000 population. With these statistics, it is important to take into account the different forms of road users with each region. Motorcycle users are catalogued more in Western areas, while more pedestrians use roads in the African region.
  • Almost 60% of road traffic deaths are among 15-44 year olds. More than three quarters (77%) of all road traffic fatalities are men.
  • Lastly and most alarmingly, only 28% percent of the world’s countries have adequate traffic management laws. These laws focus on tackling five risk factors: reducing drinking and driving and speeding, and increasing the use of seat belts, motorcycle helmets and child restraints.
Do not drink and drive sign

Drinking and driving is one of five common causes of traffic fatalities .

As for progress, the report stated that 88 countries reduced deaths on the road between 2007 and 2010. Six particularly successful countries were Australia, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the U.K. However, if more action is not taken, projected data suggests that in 2030 road traffic deaths will become the fifth leading cause of death in the world (currently, road accidents sit at number 10). It is clear that globally improving road regulations and enforcement is urgent.

Category: News

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