News / Health

WHO: Better Laws Needed to Reduce Road Fatalities

Lisa Schlein
— A new study by the World Health Organization finds that 1.25 million people die every year from road traffic crashes. The report says many of these fatalities are preventable.

The World Health Organization reports the number of yearly road traffic deaths has remained stagnant for the past few years. The U.N. agency says the number is not going down because few countries have comprehensive road safety laws that could prevent and reduce fatalities and injuries.

Without action to reverse this man-made problem, the World Health Organization predicts that about 1.9 million lives will be lost on the roads each year by 2020.

The study finds only 28 countries, covering just seven percent of the world’s population, have legislation covering all five main risk factors. These include drinking and driving, speeding, wearing seat belts and motorcycle helmets, and using child restraints.

WHO Director of Injuries and Violence Prevention Etienne Krug said that about half of all road traffic deaths involve pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders.

“We have not invested enough in road policies or transportation policies that protect these kind of road users. Seventy-nine countries have policies to separate pedestrians and cyclists from high-speed traffic," said Krug. "So, again we know that the big proportion of those who die on the roads are these vulnerable road users, as they call them. But, most countries do not have the policies in place to protect them.”  

The report says most of those who are killed in road traffic crashes are between the ages of 15 and 44 years, and 77 percent are male.  

Krug said higher-income countries are improving most in reducing deaths and injuries. In Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia and Latin America, however, the situation is getting worse.  

“It is also linked to the fact that...  in those countries we can see rapid economic development. We see new roads being built, lots of cars being imported, new drivers taking the road and this is not matched with the necessary safety measures in terms of getting a driver’s license, in terms of making sure that the infrastructure is up to it, the quality of the vehicles," said Krug. "In an African village where there was a dirt road, suddenly a new tarmac road is being built, the vehicles drive four or five times higher than they used to be driving through that village. Nothing is done to facilitate walking on the side of this road where people used to play on that road."

The World Health Organization says the African region has the highest death toll and the European region the lowest. Statistics show Africa has 24.1 fatalities per 100,000 people, compared to 10.3 deaths per 100,000 in Europe.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid