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7 DECEMBER 2018 | Geneva, Switzerland – A new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates road traffic deaths continue to rise, with an annual 1.35 million fatalities. The WHO Global status report on road safety 2018 highlights that road traffic injuries are now the leading killer of children and young people aged 5-29 years.
“These deaths are an unacceptable price to pay for mobility,” said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “There is no excuse for inaction. This is a problem with proven solutions. This report is a call for governments and partners to take much greater action to implement these measures.”
The WHO Global status report on road safety 2018 documents that despite an increase in the overall number of deaths, the rates of death relative to the size of the world population have stabilized in recent years. This suggests that existing road safety efforts in some middle- and high-income countries have mitigated the situation.
“Road safety is an issue that does not receive anywhere near the attention it deserves – and it really is one of our great opportunities to save lives around the world,” said Michael R Bloomberg, Founder and CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies and WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases and Injuries. “We know which interventions work. Strong policies and enforcement, smart road design, and powerful public awareness campaigns can save millions of lives over the coming decades.”
In the settings where progress has been made, it is largely attributed to better legislation around key risks such as speeding, drinking and driving, and failing to use seat-belts, motorcycle helmets and child restraints; safer infrastructure like sidewalks and dedicated lanes for cyclists and motorcyclists; improved vehicle standards such as those that mandate electronic stability control and advanced braking; and enhanced post-crash care.
The report documents that these measures have contributed to reductions in road traffic deaths in 48 middle- and high-income countries. However, not a single low-income country has demonstrated a reduction in overall deaths, in large part because these measures are lacking.
In fact, the risk of a road traffic death remains three times higher in low-income countries than in high-income countries. The rates are highest in Africa (26.6 per 100 000 population) and lowest in Europe (9.3 per 100 000 population). On the other hand, since the previous edition of the report, three regions of the world have reported a decline in road traffic death rates: Americas
, Europe and the Western Pacific.
Variations in road traffic deaths are also reflected by
of road user. Globally, pedestrians and cyclists account for 26% of all road traffic deaths, with that figure as high as 44% in Africa and 36% in the Eastern Mediterranean. Motorcycle riders and passengers account for 28% of all road traffic deaths, but the proportion is higher in some regions, e.g. 43% in South-East Asia and 36% in the Western Pacific.
Global status report on road safety 2018 http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/road_safety_status/2018/en
WHO fact sheet on road traffic injuries http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/road-traffic-injuries
WHO website on road traffic injuries http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/road_traffic/en/
Experts gather to exchange knowledge to scale up lifesaving violence and injury prevention efforts
5 NOVEMBER 2018 | Bangkok, Thailand – Violence and injuries take the lives of more than 13000 people around the world each day. In an effort to prevent them, experts gather for Safety 2018 to share the latest evidence and experiences from programmes which have demonstrated success in saving lives.
Injuries caused by violence, road traffic crashes, falls, drowning, burns and poisoning, among others, kill nearly 5 million people every year, accounting for 9% of the world’s deaths. These and other injury-related causes are among the many topics addressed by Safety 2018 under the theme “Advancing violence and injury prevention to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.
Globally, of injury-related deaths, 29% are due to road traffic crashes; 16% from suicide; 13% from falls; 10% from homicide; and 7% from drowning. Around 4% of injury-related deaths result from war and conflict. Violence and injuries affect people of all ages, but most often impact young people and those in their prime working years. For young adults 15-29 years of age, the top three causes of death are injury-related: road traffic injuries, suicide and homicide. Beyond deaths, tens of millions of people suffer injuries that lead to hospitalization, emergency department visits, and treatment by general practitioners. Many are left with temporary or permanent disabilities.
“Urgent action is needed to avoid this unnecessary suffering of millions of families every year,” notes Dr Etienne Krug, Director of the WHO Department for the Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention. “We know what needs to be done. Safety 2018 provides an opportunity for the world’s leading violence and injury prevention researchers, practitioners and advocates to share successful strategies which if scaled up across countries could save lives.”
Preventing violence and injuries will further attainment of the SDGs and WHO’s General Programme of Work (GPW) 2019-2023. A number of SDG targets relate specifically to violence and injuries, including targets 3.6 to cut road traffic deaths by 50% by 2020; target 5.2 to end violence against women and girls; target 11.2 to provide safe and sustainable transport, and target 16.2 to end violence against children. Targets on violence prevention and road safety are also included in WHO’s GPW.
Effective strategies to prevent violence and injuries are reflected in three technical packages produced by WHO and partners in recent years, among them INSPIRE: seven strategies for ending violence against children; SaveLIVES: a road safety technical package and Preventing drowning: an implementation guide. These tools are intended to guide governments and civil society organizations on how to put in place what works.
Among effective strategies to prevent violence and injuries include setting and enforcing laws on a range of issues from speeding and smoke detectors to hot water tap temperatures and window guards; reducing the availability and harmful use of alcohol; limiting access to firearms, knives, pesticides and certain medications to prevent suicide; implementing vehicle and safety equipment standards; installing barriers controlling access to water, including wells and swimming pools; and improving emergency trauma care. These are all strategies where both national and local government officials from across multiple sectors can play a role.
In the context of Safety 2018, WHO is also launching two new tools: the WHO International Registry for Trauma and Emergency Care and the Basic Emergency Care course, which will support countries to better understand the challenges they face in responding to those who have been injured and to train those who care for them.
Safety 2018 http://www.worldsafety2018.org/
WHO violence and injury prevention http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/en/
INSPIRE: seven strategies for ending violence against children http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/inspire-package/en/
SaveLIVES: a road safety technical package http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/publications/road_traffic/save-lives-package/en/
Preventing drowning: an implementation guide http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/drowning/drowning_prevention_guide/en
WHO International Registry for Trauma and Emergency Care http://www.who.int/emergencycare/en/
WHO Basic Emergency Care Course http://www.who.int/emergencycare/en/
The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (WDR) is commemorated on the third Sunday of November each year – to remember the many millions killed and injured on the world’s roads, together with their families, friends and many others who are also affected. It is also a Day on which we thank the emergency services and reflect on the tremendous burden and cost of this daily continuing disaster to families, communities and countries, and on ways to halt it.