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UN Urges Steps To Preventing Road Accidents

UN Agency Urges Steps To Prevent Millions Of Deaths And Injuries In Road Accidents

With road accidents worldwide causing one death, 43 injuries and a loss of nearly $500,000 every 30 seconds, the United Nations health agency today called for immediate action to improve road safety and prevent a projected 80 per cent increase in traffic fatalities in low- and middle-income countries alone by 2020.

“We are not talking about random events or ‘accidents’. We are talking about road crashes. The risks can be understood and therefore can be prevented,” World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Lee Jong-wook said in a message on World Health Day, dedicated this year for the first time in the agency’s history to traffic safety.

Events are being held worldwide to mark the Day, which coincides with the release of a report by WHO and the World Bank with concrete recommendations to governments, industry, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international agencies and individuals for improving safety and reducing the toll of deaths and injuries.

Measures proposed in the World report on road traffic injury prevention range from setting up a lead agency in every country to coordinate road safety action plans and taking proven steps to prevent crashes and minimize injuries and their consequences.

Road crashes are the second leading cause of death globally among young people aged 5 to 29 and the third leading cause of death among people aged 30 to 44 years. They kill 1.2 million people every year and injure or disable as many as 50 million more, with injuries costing countries between 1 and 2 per cent of gross national product (GNP), or $518 billion annually.

Unlike high-income countries where those most at risk are car drivers and passengers, people most in danger in low- and middle-income countries are pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and users of informal modes of public transport.

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