Transport and Communications Bulletin for Asia and the Pacific, No. 79 "Road Safety"

Transport and Communications Bulletin for Asia and the Pacific, No. 79 "Road Safety"

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The first article looks at the characteristics of road accidents in India. It reviews the road safety initiatives taken in the country, considers their effectiveness in improving road safety and, finally, presents a road safety action plan and intervention measures.

In developing countries, travel risks and traffic exposure grow at a much faster rate than elsewhere, as the growth of registered vehicles always outnumbers population growth and new roads are constructed. The second article describes how the number of road deaths was estimated in Malaysia incorporating travel risk and traffic exposure factors into statistical models, which helped in setting more realistic national road safety targets. This article provides a framework that may be useful for other developing countries to set and evaluate their own road safety targets.

Speeding happens to be a key contributory factor to road traffic crashes in Thailand. Although speed enforcement has been included as an integral part of the speed management policy, its effectiveness has been limited for a number of reasons. The third article identifies some gaps in knowledge concerning the speeding problem and the current practices of enforcement. Issues related to more effective speed enforcement and potential alternative speed management strategies are discussed.

The fourth article presents the magnitude and trends of the road safety problems and accident characteristics in Bangladesh. It also reviews some major road safety initiatives to control and reduce road traffic accidents and injuries by state and non-state actors and their effectiveness.

Achieving universal helmet use is a critical step in reducing high fatality rates in many developing countries, where motorcycles represent a very high percentage of personal vehicles. In this respect, Viet Nam’s experience in increasing motorcycle helmet use offers a model for countries in the region. The fifth article outlines the model which addressed: (1) market failures that made helmets unaffordable and unappealing; (2) weak legislation and enforcement; and (3) public ignorance of the safety benefits of helmets.

The sixth and last article explores the conceptual understanding of road crashes as a social issue among general road users and the behavioural determinants of motorcycle helmet use among young people. One of the conclusions is that the target population was aware of the benefits of wearing helmets, but their behavioural responses were linked to the perceived level of risks and were also influenced by the actions of others.