Traffic accidents 8th leading cause of death globally: WHO
The number of deaths related to traffic accidents reached a high of 1.35 million in 2016, according to the 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety, released by the World Health Organization on Friday.
It has also moved up to the eighth leading cause of death for people of all ages, ahead of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
“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,” Michael Bloomberg, former New York mayor and the WHO global ambassador for noncommunicable diseases and injuries, said in the foreword of the report.
Although the report points out that progress has been made in certain areas, such as legislation, it has not happened quickly enough to meet the UN’s goals to halve road traffic deaths between 2016 and 2020.
Traffic deaths are now the leading global cause of deaths for children and young adults between 5 and 29 years old.
Although the number of deaths continues to increase, “the rate of death relative to the size of the world’s population has stabilized and declined relative to the number of motor vehicles in recent years,” the report says.
For the past 15 years, the rate of road deaths has stayed fairly constant at about 18 per 100,000 people.
The risk of road traffic death changes depending on where in the world a person is living.
Those in low-income countries have a risk that is three times higher than those in high-income countries.
“Although only 1% of the world’s motor vehicles are in low-income countries, 13% of deaths occur in those countries,” the report says.
Middle- and high-income countries have also had more success when it comes to reducing the number of road traffic deaths: Between 2013 and 2016, there were reductions in 48 middle and high-income countries. No reductions were seen in low-income countries.
The lowest rates of road traffic deaths are in the Americas and Europe, with 15.6 and 9.3 deaths per 100,000 people, respectively.
The highest death rates are in Africa and Southeast Asia: 26.6 and 20.7 deaths per 100,000, respectively.
“More than half of all road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists,” the report says.
Globally, 29% of deaths are car occupants, 28% are those using motorized two- and three-wheelers, 26% are pedestrians and cyclists, and the remaining 17% are unidentified road users.
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