Traffic crashes have become a global epidemic1. Fortunately, government authorities and NGOs around the world are working hard with a combination of awareness, behavior and infrastructure strategies to reverse this deadly trend through traffic safety initiatives.
If you live in a low-income country, traffic crashes are one of the top ten causes of death. If you live in Costa Rica, considered an upper middle-income country by the World Bank2, you’re more likely to die in a traffic accident than from liver or stomach cancer3. Even if you live in the U.S., auto accidents kill more people than pancreatic cancer, liver or heart disease, violence, suicide or any other injury4.
Motor vehicle accident statistics are staggering. According to the World Health Organization (WHO):
In 2015, WHO performed the first broad assessment of road safety in 178 countries using data from surveys conducted in 2008. In its Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists were identified as those most vulnerable to road accidents, comprising almost half of all deaths on the world’s roads. Only 75 countries (page 30) had national road safety strategies with specific targets, including identifying dangerous roads and the engineering countermeasures needed to make them safer. Just 29 percent of participating countries had urban speed limits aligned with best practices (page 22, 47 countries of 180 participating countries) and only 34 countries had drunk-driving laws using the alcohol limit recommended by WHO (a BAC limit of less than or equal to 0.05 g/dl) (page 30). The report also noted that:
Any effort to reduce road injury rates relies on the ability to gauge and mitigate situations that contribute to traffic accidents. According to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, a successful transportation plan should include the 4 Es of safety:
1 World Health Organization, The world health report, Chapter 6: Neglected Global Epidemics: three growing threats. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
2 The World Bank, Where We Work, The World Bank in Costa Rica. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
3 World Health Organization, Media centre, The top 10 causes of death. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
4 The VCG, How will you die? Retrieved October 3, 2017.