Road accidents kill 1.25 mn people each year: WHO

Geneva, Oct 19 (IANS) Some 1.25 million people are killed each year in road accidents, according to a new report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday.

The report, titled Global status report on road safety 2015, noted the number of road accident deaths is stabilising even though the number of motor vehicles worldwide has increased rapidly, Xinhua news agency reported.

In the last three years, 79 economies have seen a decrease in the absolute number of fatalities while 68 economies have seen an increase, the report said.

“Road traffic fatalities take an unacceptable toll, particularly on poor people in poor countries,” said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” Chan said, adding that “The report shows that road safety strategies are saving lives. But it also tells us that the pace of change is too slow”.

A big gap still separated high-income economies from low- and middle-income ones where 90 percent of road accident deaths occur in spite of having just 54 percent of the world’s vehicles. Europe, in particular the region’s wealthier countries, has the lowest death rates per capital.

Specifically, motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable, making up 23 percent of all road accident deaths. In many regions, this problem is increasing.

In Southeast Asia and Western Pacific regions, a third of all deaths are among motorcyclists.

In addition, pedestrians and cyclists are also among the groups with the least protection, making up 22 percent and four percent of global road accident deaths, respectively.

The report also found that some vehicles sold in 80 percent of all countries worldwide fail to meet basic safety standards, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where nearly 50 percent of the 67 million new passenger cars were produced in 2014.

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