Road Accidents Kill 1.35 Million People Every Year

Unruly traffic on a road in New Delhi, India. Photo: Rakesh Raman / RMN News Service (Representational image)
Unruly traffic on a road in New Delhi, India. Photo: Rakesh Raman / RMN News Service (Representational image)

Road traffic accidents take some 1.35 million lives every year and cost most countries 3% of their gross domestic product (GDP), the top UN health official said on Wednesday as the Third Global Ministerial Conference On Road Safety kicked off (February 19-20) in Stockholm, Sweden.

According to the UN World Health Organization (WHO), road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29 years.

“The millions of lives lost every year due to road traffic collisions is an outrage,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “It is an unacceptable price to pay for mobility.”

Moreover, 93% of the world’s road fatalities occur in low- and middle-income countries, even though these nations have approximately 60% of the world’s vehicles.

“Most road traffic deaths and injuries can be prevented, using tried and tested strategies,” stated the WHO chief.

In collaboration with WHO, Sweden hosted more than 1,700 participants from some 140 countries at the Conference on Road Safety where delegates shared successes and lessons learned, while charting strategic directions for global road safety, and defining ways to fast-track progress around proven strategies to save lives.

The Conference also saw the UN Road Safety Fund unveil 10 new projects that will target key gaps in the road safety systems of 12 countries. With a total budget of nearly $4 million, these projects will scale the Fund’s geographical and programmatic footprint in the coming months.

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Rakesh Raman