June 16, 2009

Road Accidents Affect Impoverished The Most

The majority of the victims of road crashes are poor, with the amount of fatalities doubling over the last two decades, stated the first global review of road safety.

The World Health Organization announced on Monday their study found that half of the 1.27 million people who die in road accidents are pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists, and stated that practically nothing was being done to protect them.

"More than 90 percent of the world's road deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries, while these countries only have 48 percent of the world's vehicles," said Dr. Etienne Krug, director of WHO's Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability, to Yahoo News.

Persons from poor areas are excessively affected by the 20-50 million road traffic injuries that happen every year. It does not necessarily matter how much money the country makes, as even in high-income countries, the poor are still affected the most, the study found.

Impoverished countries do not always demand that all riders in a car use seat belts. These numbers add up to about 38% countries that do not, contrasted with the 57% that do.

The Eastern Mediterranean and African areas had the largest totals, while the high-income countries, like the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom had lower numbers overall.

Even though road traffic death rates have evened out or declined recently, the study noted that in most regions road deaths are on the rise.

If the current trends carry on, road deaths may practically double to 2.4 million annually by 2030, the study estimated.

As road injuries kill people anywhere from five to 44, costing about $518 billion dollars in yearly losses and taking away 3% from economic output, the WHO study stated that all countries have to increase their road safety efforts.

"Even the top performers globally are often stagnating and still have considerable room for improvement in achieving a truly safe road transport system," said Krug.

Furthermore, the study added that several basic safety steps had yet to be widely put into place.

Only 40% of countries have helmet laws for drivers and passengers, and less than half employ any blood alcohol limit to prevent drinking and driving.


On the Net: