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Road Traffic Injuries

Traffic accidents cause over 1.3 million people every year. Between 20 and 50 million others suffer non-fatal injuries, some being life-changing. Injuries significantly burden the victims and nations in terms of treatment costs and productivity loss. 

According to WHO estimates, countries spend around 3 percent of their GDP on costs resulting from accidents.

Low and Middle-Income Countries Record Most Fatalities

“You would think developed countries would register the most accidents because they have a higher car-to-person ratio. But statistics paint a different story,” says attorney Matthew Aulsbrook of Aulsbrook Car & Truck Wreck Lawyers. According to a World Health Organization report, 93 percent of all accident fatalities occur in low and middle-income countries, even when these countries have the least vehicles.

Even in first-world countries, people from low socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to get involved in accidents, drawing a correlation between accidents and the socioeconomic status of victims.

The report also showed that male drivers are more likely to cause an accident than female drivers. Approximately 73 percent of the people who die in accidents are men under 25.

Major Accident Causes

Unfortunately, most of these accidents result from driver error, are avoidable, and result from unsafe driving habits such as speeding. According to the WHO, speeding is a major cause of accidents and is responsible for 31 percent of global accidents. According to experts, a one percent increase in speed increases the chance of a fatal accident by four percent.

Alcohol is also a big factor in causing accidents and accounts for approximately 25 percent of all traffic accidents worldwide. The risk of causing an accident increases with alcohol in the system. While countries have different BAC limits for drivers, no amount of alcohol is safe. According to the WHO report, a 0.04 percent BAC significantly increases the chances of getting into an accident.

Distracted driving is driving while the eyes, hands, or mind are off operating a vehicle. These activities include eating, texting, talking on the phone, or getting lost in thought. In 2020, distracted driving was responsible for 9 percent of fatal crashes in the US. Other Causes of accidents include poor road infrastructure, unsafe vehicles, and inadequate traffic law enforcement.

WHO’s Response to the Problem?

Every country is responsible for fixing its auto-ancient problem, which may require implementing a multi-faceted approach in sectors such as the police, transport ministries, education, and health. Effective interventions towards solving the problem include strict enforcement of existing laws or enacting stricter laws, improving the infrastructure while paying attention to safety, and educating the masses on road safety from a young age.

In 2021, the UN launched the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021– 2030 resolution, an ambitious plan to help reduce traffic fatalities by 50 percent by 2030. The UN hopes to achieve this by working with member countries and supporting their road safety policy planning, implementation, and evaluation. 

WHO also plans to collaborate with member countries by providing technical help where needed. A good example of such efforts is WHO’s collaboration with Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), which aims to reduce traffic fatalities in select low and middle-income countries.

Compensation for Accident Victims

Irrespective of the efforts put towards improving safety across the globe, accidents will always occur and inflict massive financial and physical suffering on victims. 

Most countries require at least third-party liability for all vehicles to cover damages suffered by third parties. If you have been injured in an accident where you are not at fault, speak to an attorney to look at your options for getting compensation.

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