NEW YORK 8 December 2018: More than 1.35 million people die on the roads each year, while road traffic injuries are now the leading cause of death among young people, according to new statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Increases in average speed, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and inadequate post-crash care, are among various factors making traffic injuries the number one killer of persons aged five to 29, the 2018 Global Status on Road Safety reveals.
These finds signal a need for a shift in the current child and adolescent health agenda which, to date, has largely neglected road safety, the report carried by Wam explained.
“What’s killing our young children and adults, is road traffic crashes now,” said Dr. Etienne Krug, Director of the WHO department that deals with violence and Injury prevention.
The WHO report on road safety documents that despite an increase in the overall number of fatalities, the rates of death relative to the size of the world population have stabilised in recent years. The findings suggest that existing road safety efforts in some middle- and high-income countries have mitigated the situation.
Such progress, the report explains, is primarily attributed to better legislation around key risks such as speeding, drinking and driving, and failing to use seat-belts, motorcycle helmets and child restraints; safer infrastructure like sidewalks and dedicated lanes for cyclists and motorcyclists; improved vehicle standards such as those that mandate electronic stability control and advanced braking; and enhanced post-crash care.
Such measures, the report details, have contributed to reductions in road traffic deaths in 48 middle- and high-income countries. However, not a single low-income country has demonstrated a reduction in overall deaths, in large part because these measures are lacking, it added.
The risk of a road traffic death remains three times higher in low-income countries than in high-income countries, report findings show.