Road Safety Facts, Global and in the Asia Pacific Region
Each year, road traffic crashes kill nearly 1.2 million people, and injure or disable 2050 million more people.
Unless drastic measures are taken to counter the trend, the number of deaths and disabilities from road traffic crashes will continue to increase over the next three decades, and will make road traffic injuries the eighth leading cause of death by the year 2030.
Globally, more than 40% of all road traffic deaths occur among the 025 age group.
Road traffic injuries are the second leading cause of death for young people aged 525 years.
The highest rate of fatalities in the 025 age range occurs among young road users in low-income and middle-income countries, particularly in Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean .
Males account for 75% of all road traffic fatalities among those under 25 years of age.
In low-income and middle-income countries, the young road users most likely to be involved in a crash are vulnerable road users pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and passengers of private and public transport with regional variability.
In high-income countries those most at risk are drivers.
It is estimated that every year road traffic crashes cost US$ 518 billion globally.
In low-income and middle-income countries, road traffic crashes cost an estimated US$ 100 billion, which exceeds the total amount received by these countries in overseas development assistance.
Road traffic crashes cost 1%1.5% of gross national product in low-income and middle-income countries, and 2% of gross national product in high income countries.
Speed is a main factor contributing to road traffic injuries in most countries.
Young men in particular are likely to drive at excessive or inappropriate speeds.
Reducing the average traffic speed by 1 km/h has been shown to lead to a 4%5% decrease in fatal crashes.
Reducing the speed at which traffic is moving also protects pedestrians.
Appropriate speed limits should be set and enforced.
Alcohol consumption increases both the likelihood of a crash occurring and the seriousness of the injury sustained.
Young male teenage drivers are at least five times more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers aged 30 years and older, at all alcohol levels above zero.
Some countries have lower blood alcohol content limits for young or inexperienced drivers, a strategy that can reduce crashes by 4%24%.
Blood alcohol concentration limits for all drivers should be set and enforced.
Seat-belts have saved more lives than any other road safety intervention in the event of a crash.
Young male drivers have been found to use seat-belts less frequently than other groups.
Seat-belts can reduce the risk of all injuries by 40%50%, and of fatal injuries by 40% - 60%.
Mandatory seat-belt laws should be introduced and enforced.
Child restraints, such as infant and child seats and booster seats, have been shown to be highly effective at preventing fatalities among both infants and young children traveling in cars.
Child restraints reduce the death rates in car crashes by 71% among infants and by 54% among young children.
Child restraint laws should be introduced and enforced.
Wearing a helmet is the single most effective way of reducing head injuries and fatalities resulting from motorcycle, moped and bicycle crashes.
Young men are less likely to wear helmets while riding motorcycles and mopeds.
Motorcycle helmets have been shown to reduce the risk and severity of head injury by about 70%.
Helmet laws should be introduced and enforced.
Road design and infrastructure:
Measures to improve road design and infrastructure include: separating different types of traffic; providing safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists; building pavements and recognizable crossing structures for pedestrians; and reducing traffic speeds by constructing speed bumps, rumble strips and roundabouts.
Some of these measures can be implemented at relatively low cost.
Many road crash victims die before they reach a hospital because of inadequate emergency services, including medical, fire and police services.
Improving the emergency services from the crash scene to the health facility and beyond will increase the chances of those involved in road traffic crashes surviving, and avoiding long-lasting disabilities and injuries.
Asia Pacific Facts
More than half of the world's deaths due to traffic accidents in 2005 took place in the Asia Pacific Region.
Roughly half of those deaths in the Asia Pacific region occurred in China and India .
In recent years, the number of vehicles has increased rapidly, and so have road traffic accidents in which people have died.
Developing countries tend to have higher fatality rates than developed countries.
Vehicles have become safer, however fatalities continued to increase.
The higher the number of vehicles per kilometer of road, the higher the number of fatalities.
Pedestrians and (motor-)cyclists are among the most vulnerable road users (many of them being younger people).
In many countries in the Asia pacific, more than two thirds of traffic consists of two- and three-wheelers.
The facts for the Asia Pacific region have been taken from the paper Road Safety in Asia and the Pacific , prepared by the secretariat in September 2006 . To download the paper in PDF format click here .