More than a million people die each year on the world’s roads, and the cost of dealing with the consequences of these road traffic crashes runs into billions of dollars.
According to the WHO 2013 Global Status Report on Road Safety, made available to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Thursday, “more than three-quarters of all road traffic deaths are among young males”.
It noted that current trends suggested that by 2030, road traffic deaths would become the fifth leading cause of death unless urgent action is taken.
The report provides extensive information on leading risk factors for road traffic injuries and evidence on effective interventions and makes recommendations to countries on how to improve national road safety.
In 2010, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020, and for further global status reports on road safety to monitor the impact of the Decade at national and global levels.
This report was built on the 2009 one, and provides additional data in a number of important areas and serves as the baseline for monitoring the Decade.
The report showed that there had been no overall reduction in the number of people killed on the world’s roads: about1.24 million deaths occur annually.
It said 88 countries – in which almost 1.6 billion people lived – reduced the number of deaths on their roads between 2007 and 2010, showing that improvements were possible, and that many more lives would be saved if countries take further action.
The report said 87 countries saw increase in the number of road traffic deaths over the same period.
It showed that the highest road traffic fatality rates were in middle-income countries, particularly the African Region.
The report also highlighted that enforcement of laws was critical. .
The report serves as a strong warning to governments to address the needs of non-motorized road users.
It said ensuring the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motor cyclists was critical to successfully reducing the total number of global road traffic deaths.
The report added that half of the world’s road traffic death occurred among vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists 23; pedestrians 22 and cyclists 5 per cents; with 31 per cent of deaths among car occupants and the remaining 19 per cent being unspecified road users.
The second UN Global Road Safety Week to be held from 6-12 May 2013 on the banner “Make Walking Safe”, is dedicated to pedestrian safety.
The Week would contribute to: drawing attention to the need for pedestrian safety, generating action on measures, which work to increase pedestrian safety, and achieving the goal of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 to save five million lives.