The number of road traffic deaths continues to rise in low-income countries in particular. Even though these countries only account for one percent of the world’s passenger cars, they are responsible for 13 percent of all global traffic accident casualties. There are many reasons for this: too few laws, poor infrastructure, insufficient road safety education, and, not least, a lack of safety standards for vehicles.
“We know what makes a good law. We need to share this knowledge with other countries that have less extensive regulations. But having laws is not enough – they have to be implemented and taken into account by people,” explains Etienne Krug, Head of the Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention at the WHO. According to Krug, road safety education is required in order to increase risk awareness. In many countries, people do not always wear seat belts or helmets. Parents are often poor role models for their children. Therefore, the WHO introduces global campaigns for road safety education at schools and other educational institutions. The following statistic from the WHO report demonstrates how important these standards are: wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of death among drivers and front seat occupants by 45 to 50 percent. More than 100 countries with a total of 5.3 billion people currently have seat-belt laws in place.
”I am optimistic that countries will start to take action and do more – after all, it makes sense on both a human and an economic level. More than anything, the topic of prevention will become increasingly important.”