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WHO: Road Accidents Leave 1.3 Million Deaths a Year

WHO: Road Accidents Leave 1.3 Million Deaths a Year

Saturday, 8 December, 2018 - 07:45
Big clean-up: A rescue worker carries a piece of the wreckage of one of the 100 vehicles involved in multiple collisions. Reuters file photo
Cairo - Hazem Badr
A new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates road traffic deaths continue to rise, with an annual 1.35 million fatalities. The WHO Global status report on road safety 2018 highlights that road traffic injuries are now the leading killer of children and young people aged 5-29 years.

According to the report, a copy of which was seen by Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday, 48 countries, ranging from middle to high income, have taken measures that have contributed to reducing the number of deaths caused by road accidents, while not a single low-income country has demonstrated a reduction in overall deaths."

The WHO Global status report on road safety is issued every two to three years, and its latest version was released in 2015. The report is a key tool for tracking the progress of the Road Safety Work Contract, which began in 2011 and ends in 2020.

The risk of death from road accidents is still three times higher in low-income than in high-income countries, with the highest rates in Africa (26.6 per 100,000 inhabitants) and the lowest in Europe (9.3 per 100,000 inhabitants).

Variations in road traffic deaths are also reflected by type of road user. The report noted that pedestrians and cyclists accounted for 26% of all deaths, up to 44% in Africa and 36% in the eastern Mediterranean.

Motorcyclists and passengers account for 28% of all road traffic fatalities, but the rate was higher in some regions, for example, 43% in South-East Asia and 36% in the Western Pacific.

The reports says "the rates of death relative to the size of the world population have stabilized in recent years, indicating that current road safety efforts in some high and middle-income countries have eased the situation, but WHO still hopes for more in these countries, as well as in low-income countries, which did not make any progress."

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in the statement accompanying the study: "Deaths caused by road accidents are an unacceptable price to pay for mobility, and there is no excuse for failing to reduce them. This report is a call for the governments and partners to take far greater action to eliminate the problem."

"The progress made by 48 high and middle-income countries was due to better legislation on key risks, such as speed, prevention of drinking while driving, penalties for not using seat belts, safety helmets while driving motorcycles, safety restrictions to secure children safety while driving, development of safer infrastructure such as sidewalks and trails for cyclists and motorbikes, and fostering post-collision care."

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