Road Crash Problem

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Road Crash Problem

The World Health Organisation and the World Bank jointly issued the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention on the World Health Day 2004. The report’s publication signaled a growing concern in the global community about the scale of losses associated with growing motorization and a recognition that urgent measures need to be taken to sustainably reduce their economic and social losses. This report not only presents country data but projects future country losses worldwide based on a scenario of inaction. Currently, every year more than 1 million are killed and up to 50 million are maimed on the world’s roads. These deaths and injuries create an unacceptably high public health, economic and social development losses.

The World Report projects that global road fatalities will increase by more than 65% between 2000 and 2020 with trend varying across regions, if no systematic and concerted action is undertaken. Fatalities are also predicted to grow by 80% in low and middle income countries, but decrease by 30% in high-income countries. Road deaths and injuries are projected to be the third leading contributor by 2020 to the global burden of disease and injury.

The World Report highlights road safety as a social equity issue. Low and middle-income countries already bear about 90% of the current burden of road deaths and injuries and they will experience the greatest increase in causality rates over the coming decades. A large proportion of crash victims in these countries will continue to be more vulnerable such as pedestrians and cyclists. Road crashes have a disproportionate impact on the poor who experience limited access to post crash emergency care and face costs and loss of income that can push families deeper into poverty.

Some generalized estimates indicate that the economic cost of road deaths and injuries average about 1% of GNP for low-income countries and 1.5% GNP of middle-income countries. These costs could be significantly higher, especially if under representation of deaths and injuries in available statistics and social cost of pain and suffering were fully accounted for.




The World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention identified six overarching recommendations that set out the strategic initiatives needed to improve a country’s road safety situation.

  1. 1. Identify a lead national agency in government to guide the national road safety effort.
  2. 2. Assess the problem, policies and institutional settings relating to road traffic injury and the capacity for road traffic injury prevention in each country.
  3. 3. Prepare a national road safety strategy and plan of action
  4. 4. Allocate financial and human resources to address the problem
  5. 5. Implement specific actions to prevent road traffic crashes, minimize injuries and their consequences and evaluate the impact of these actions
  6. 6. Support the development of national and international cooperation

These recommendations emphasize the importance of implementing a systematic, sustained and accountable response to govern road safety results at country level, and place prime importance on the vital role of the lead agency in the process.

Evolution of Road safety management

Rapid motorization and rising road deaths and injuries had begun in OECD countries in the 1950s and 1960s, and in tandem the ambition to improve road safety. Since 1950s the have been four significant phases of road safety management




A Safe System is dedicated to the elimination of deaths and injuries that undermine the sustainability of road transport networks and the communities they serve. In a Safe System, targets are milestones to be achieved on the path to the ultimate goal, but the interventions are determined by the level of ambition and not the targets. Innovation becomes a priority to achieve results that go well beyond what is currently known to be achievable. A Safe System’s core priority is to afford protection to all road users including the most vulnerable at risk groups such as pedestrians, young and old, cyclists and motor cyclists.

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