Insight of Road crashes.

road accidentsThird Sunday of every year is the day to remember victims of road accidents. This is an united nations observation and not a holiday.

Some key factors of road accidents.

  • Approximately 1.35million people die each year as a result of road traffic accidents.
    • In India 53 road accidents happen every hour killing 17 people.
      • Goa has already documented 343 fatal accidents so far in the year.
    • Road traffic crashes eats into 3% of the gross domestic products in most countries.
    • Pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists form more than half of the people killed in road traffic deaths.
    • 93% of the road traffic deaths occur in middle and low income countries, which account for 60% of the world’s vehicle.
    • Road traffic injuries are leading cause of death between 5-29yr olds. Male deaths seem to dominate this scenario with 73% of the causalities being men.

The 2030 agenda for sustainable development goals targets reducing the injuries from road traffic to half by 2020.

Eliminating road accidents would mean ensuring safe systems, particularly accommodating human error. It would include safe roads, safe roadsides, speeds, vehicles, pedestrian safety. Major causes for road crashes. Are

  • Distracted driving. With increasing use of devices, like the telephone, or listening to music and audio books while driving or having intense conversations tends to distract the drivers.
  • Drunken driving – slows the reflexes and colours judgement.
  • Speeding – with increase in 1% of the speed the risk of a fatal crash increases by 4% and serious injuries to 3%. It has been noted that speeds about 65km/ph increases the risk of serious to fatal injuries by 85% in a car to car impact.
  • Running traffic lights
  • Irresponsible driving: use of helmets reduces serious head injuries by 69% and fatality by 42%. Use of seat belt by the driver and the front seat occupant reduces injuries and fatality by 45-50% while using a safety belt in the rear seat reduces the risk by 25%/
  • Wrong way driving. Going against the flow of the vehicle is a major issue. Rash driving and constant lane changing adds to the confusion.
  • Bad infrastructure and road designs: the design of the roads, contribute a lot to the efficiency in safety. The design of the road requires to keep in mind all users, that is the pedestrian, the cyclist, and the motorcyclists. Measures like footpaths and cycling lanes are essential along with safe crossing zones and other measures to keep the traffic calm. Tailgating.
  • Unsafe vehicles, the UN has a regulation on vehicle safety that includes electronic stability, airbags, seatbelts, etc.
  • Teen drivers
  • Driving under the influence of drugs.
  • Tyre blow out
  • Animal crossing
  • Rains

Along with these delays in detecting and providing care of those involved in a road accident increases the severity of the injuries. Most of the injuries are time sensitive.

The laws on drunken driving, seat-belt wearing, triple riding on a two wheeler, under-age driving, helmets, speed limits and child restrains have to enforced stringently. This rigidity ensures that the safety norms are complied with. This includes defining the appropriate penalties.

WHO response — Providing technical support to countries

WHO works across the spectrum in countries, in a multi-sectoral manner and in partnership with national and international stakeholders from a variety of sectors. Its objective is to support Member States in road safety policy planning, implementation and evaluation.

In addition, WHO collaborates with partners to provide technical support to countries. For example, WHO is currently collaborating with the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS) 2015-2019 to reduce fatalities and injuries from road traffic crashes in targeted low- and middle-income countries and cities.

In 2017, WHO released Save LIVES a road safety technical package which synthesizes evidence-based measures that can significantly reduce road traffic fatalities and injuries. Save LIVES: a road safety technical package focuses on Speed management, Leadership, Infrastructure design and improvement, Vehicle safety standards, Enforcement of traffic laws and post-crash Survival.

The package prioritizes 6 strategies and 22 interventions addressing the risk factors highlighted above, and provides guidance to Member States on their implementation to save lives and meet the road safety target of halving the global number of deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes by 2020.


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