Traffic accidents kill an increasing number of people worldwide, with 1.35 million deaths a year, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned Friday, worried about the lack of security measures in the countries poor.
In its global report on road safety, the WHO also states that road accidents are now the leading cause of death among children and young people aged 5 to 29 years.
In recent years, the total number of deaths on roads in the world has steadily increased, with 1.35 million deaths recorded in the 2018 report, while the WHO recorded more than 1.2 million in a report published in 2009.
“These deaths represent an unacceptable price for mobility,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement.
“There is no excuse for inaction. This report is an appeal to governments and partners to take far greater action to implement these measures, “he added.
Security for the rich
WHO welcomes, however, that mortality rates relative to the size of the world’s population have stabilized in recent years, “suggesting that road safety efforts in some middle- and high-income countries have mitigated the situation. ”
These successes are largely attributed by the experts to better legislation regarding the main risks such as speed, drinking and driving and the absence of seatbelt, motorcycle helmet or child car seats.
WHO also stresses the importance of safer infrastructure such as sidewalks and lanes reserved for cyclists and motorcyclists, as well as improved vehicle standards, such as those requiring electronic stability control and advanced braking.
Road accidents around the world:
- 1.35 million deaths a year;
- 1st cause of death among 5-29 year olds;
- 8th cause of death on the planet;
- 24 s: a person dies on the road every 24 seconds;
- 54% of the dead are cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians;
- 28% of motorcyclists;
- 23% of pedestrians;
- 3% of cyclists.
Mortality in poor countries
While the situation has improved in rich countries, not a single low-income country has seen a reduction in the total number of deaths, largely because of the lack of measures to improve security, according to the report.
The risk of road deaths remains three times higher in low-income countries than in high-income countries, with the highest rates in Africa (26.6 per 100,000 population) and the lowest in Europe (9 , 3 per 100,000 inhabitants).
Since the last edition of the report three years ago, three regions worldwide have seen a drop in road mortality rates: the Americas, Europe and the Western Pacific, the largest reduction in the Pacific Western.
Variable safety standards
Although drunk driving is responsible for many deaths on the roads, only 45 countries, representing 2.3 billion people, have legislation that meets the highest standards (0.05 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood), according to WHO. Africa and Asia show shortcomings in the fight against drinking and driving.
Fortunately, the use of seatbelt is more widespread, with a total of 105 countries, representing 5.3 billion people, applying the highest standards in this area. Only a handful of countries, mostly in Africa and Asia, have little (only for the driver) or no laws governing the use of seat belts.
The safety of road users also depends on improving vehicle safety standards. Only 40 countries, representing 1 billion people, can count on some of the safest vehicles, meeting at least 7 of the 8 international safety standards issued by the WHO. Most of them are wealthy countries.
It is in Europe that vehicles are the safest while Africa and Asia are once again among the safest places. The vehicles meet less than two of the eight international safety standards. Only one African country, Egypt, appears in the list of the safest countries in terms of vehicles.
The majority of European countries, with the exception of the Balkans, are among the top class in this category.
Canada and the United States are in the second category, meeting 2 to 6 international standards while the Americas as a whole oscillate between the second and third categories.