Road accident deaths down by 5% globally, numbers in India continue to rise: WHO

While the numbers have slightly reduced globally, with more than two deaths occurring per minute and over 3,200 per day, road traffic crashes remain the leading killer of children and youth aged five to 29 years, the report said.

“The tragic tally of road crash deaths is heading in the right direction, downwards, but nowhere near fast enough. The carnage on our roads is preventable. We call on all countries to put people rather than cars at the centre of their transport systems, and ensuring the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and other vulnerable road users,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

According to the report released on Wednesday, since 2010, road traffic deaths have fallen by 5 per cent to 1.19 million annually since 2010.

In India, the number of deaths reported due to road crashes in 2018 was 1,50,785 and it rose to 1,53,792 in 2021. The number was 1.3 lakh in 2010.

The global status report on road safety 2023 details the scale of global road traffic deaths, and progress in advancing laws, strategies, and actions to reduce them around the world.

The fifth report in a series, it provides an overview of progress between 2010 and 2021 and sets a baseline for the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 target of halving road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030.

Also Read : Road accidents rise in India, over 1.68 lakh people died in mishaps in 2022. Overspeeding remains biggest killer

Among UN Member States, 108 countries reported a drop in road traffic-related deaths between 2010 and 2021. Ten countries — Belarus, Brunei Darussalam, Denmark, Japan, Lithuania, Norway, the Russian Federation, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela — succeeded in reducing road traffic deaths by over 50 per cent, the report said.

Thirty-five more countries made notable progress, reducing the deaths by 30 per cent to 50 per cent, it said.

Also Read : Nitin Gadkari postpones target to reduce road accidents in India by half, aims to achieve by 2030

The report has noted that 28 per cent of the global road traffic deaths occurred in the WHO South-East Asia Region, 25 per cent in the Western Pacific Region, 19 per cent in the African Region, 12 per cent in the Region of the Americas, 11 per cent in the Eastern Mediterranean Region and 5 per cent in the European Region.

Nine in 10 deaths occurred in low and middle-income countries, and fatalities in these countries are disproportionately higher when set against the number of vehicles and roads they have.

The risk of death is three times higher in low-income than high-income countries, yet low-income countries have just 1 per cent of the world’s motor vehicles.

“Fifty-three per cent of all road traffic fatalities are vulnerable road users including pedestrians (23 per cent); riders of powered two- and three-wheelers such as motorcycles (21 per cent); cyclists (6 per cent); and users of micro-mobility devices such as e-scooters (3 per cent). Deaths among car and other 4-wheeled light vehicle occupants fell slightly to 30 per cent of global fatalities,” the report said.

The pedestrian deaths rose 3 per cent to 2,74,000 between 2010 and 2021, accounting for 23 per cent of the global fatalities. Deaths among cyclists rose by nearly 20 per cent to 71,000, accounting for 6 per cent of the global deaths.

“Meanwhile, research indicates that 80 per cent of the world’s roads fail to meet pedestrian safety standards and just 0.2 per cent have cycle lanes, leaving these road users dangerously exposed.

“And while 9 in 10 people surveyed identify as pedestrians, just a quarter of countries have policies to promote walking, cycling and public transport,” the report said.

According to WHO, the report reveals an alarming lack of progress in advancing laws and safety standards.

Just six countries have laws that meet WHO best practice for all risk factors (speeding, drunk–driving, and use of motorcycle helmets, seatbelts, and child restraints) while 140 countries (two-thirds of UN Member States) have such laws for at least one of these risk factors.

Of note, 23 of these countries modified their laws to meet WHO best practices since the Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018, the report said.

“The global motor-vehicle fleet is set to double by 2030. Yet just 35 countries – less than a fifth of UN Member States – legislate on all key vehicle safety features (advanced braking systems, front- and side-impact protection),” a WHO statement said.

“The report also reveals major gaps in ensuring safe road infrastructure, with just 51 countries – a quarter of UN Member States – having laws that require safety inspections that cover all road users,” it said.

First Published Date: 14 Dec 2023, 07:51 AM IST

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