The Global status report on road safety 2018, indicates that the number of annual road traffic deaths has reached 1.35 million implying that nearly 3 700 people die on the world’s roads every day.
Globally, pedestrians and cyclists represent 26 per cent of all death, with those using motorized two or three wheels comprising 28 per cent. Car occupants make up 29 per cent of all deaths and other remaining 17 per cent are unidentified road users. Africa has the highest proportion of pedestrian and cyclist mortalities with 44 per cent of deaths.
According to the Director General, World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Road traffic injuries are now the leading killer of people aged 5-29 years, the burden is disproportionately borne by pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, in particular those living in developing countries.
The report suggests that the price paid for mobility is too high, especially because proven measures exist. Such measures include strategies to address speed and drinking and driving, among other behaviors.
The report highlights that safer infrastructure like dedicated lanes for cyclists and motorcyclists, improved vehicle standards such as those that mandate electronic stability control and enhanced post-crash care can play critical roles in scaling down on the number of accidents.
Drastic action is needed to put these measures in place to meet any future global target that might be set and save lives.
He said tens of millions more are injured or disabled every year, people who suffer life-altering injuries with long-lasting effects and the cost of emergency response, health care and human grief is immense.
Dr Tedros said Development is an opportunity for low- and middle-income countries to avoid the costly mistakes made in the past by high-income countries. We need to create cities and transport systems that reduce reliance on cars.
“We must apply the lessons we have learned about safe road design. With the right leadership and investment, countries can build in the safeguards and best practices to save lives,” he added.
He said sustainable road safety must be planned and requires long-term investment and private sectors, international donors and other stake holders need to work together to make things happen.