1.35 million deaths on the roads; young people leads the toll

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As many as 1.35 million people die on the roads each year, while road traffic injuries are now the leading cause of death among young people, according to new statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Increases in average speed, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and inadequate post-crash care are among the various factors making traffic injuries the number one killer of persons aged five to 29, the 2018  Global Status on Road Safety reveals, according to a release from the UN.

In the total number of road traffic deaths, 90 percent occur in low and -middle-income countries, it said.

Director of the WHO department that deals with violence and Injury prevention Dr Etienne Krug was quoted by UN News as saying “what’s killing our young children and adults, is road traffic crashes now,”

Pointing out that only one percent of the vehicles in the world are in poorer countries, Dr. Krug said “yet 13 percent of all vehicle-related deaths occur there. High-income nations account for 40 percent of the world’s cars, and only seven percent of total traffic fatalities.”

Dramatic increases in fatalities for many low- and middle-income countries, are in part reflective of their rapid development, associated with “new roads, new cars, new drivers, he said.

While no low-income country has not shown a reduction in overall deaths, compared to 2015, 48 middle and high-income countries in Europe, the Americas and the Western Pacific have shown decline in road traffic death, which is largely attributed to improved legislation around speed limits, intoxicated driving and seat-belt safety, among others.

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