Road safety is a global challenge

Road safety is a global challenge

Jun 2017

A total of around 65,000 traffic fatalities were recorded across the EU and the USA in 2016 – and this is just a fraction of the 1.25 million people who are killed on the road every year worldwide according to the WHO's “Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015.” The differences between the individual regions are immense. While the number of traffic fatalities in most of the world's more prosperous nations has been falling more or less continuously for decades, the numbers are rising in many emerging and developing nations. According to the WHO, around 90% of all road traffic fatalities occur in low- to medium-income countries, even though this is where only 54% of the world's vehicles are found. Globally, the fatality rate in low-income countries is twice that of high-income countries. The risk of being killed in a road accident is particularly high for unprotected road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

According to the WHO, the countries that have achieved success when it comes to road safety in recent years are those that have implemented best practice measures in combination with legislative requirements. Worldwide, 47 countries now impose speed limits of 50 km/h in residential areas; 34 countries place a limit on the maximum blood alcohol content of drivers; helmets are compulsory for motorcyclists in 44 countries; safety belts are a statutory requirement for all car occupants in 105 countries; and special child restraints must be used in 53 countries when children travel by car. To continue making strides toward the desired goal of “Vision Zero”, these figures must be increased further over the coming years.