Image credits: Ralf Vetterle
News Article

Road Accidents Cause 1.3 million Deaths Per Year: UN

By Rodrigo Andrade | Fri, 07/01/2022 - 15:25

Road accidents are a major health threat, causing over 1.3 million deaths and 50 million serious injuries worldwide every year, reports the UN. “Road crashes are a silent, walking epidemic,” said António Guterres, General Minister, UN, addressing representatives of the 193 UN Member States. During the UN General Assembly, representatives discussed how to solve this problem and halve the number of fatalities and injuries by 2030. 

The action taken to advance this commitment will be published in a political declaration. “With the declaration, governments around the world commit to provide leadership and coordination at the highest level of government to ensure that all sectors of society are included in road safety actions and drive policies and measures to reduce deaths and injuries,” said the World Health Organization (WHO). The organization also called for responsible development and funding of national and local plans so they have sufficient resources to meet the objectives.

“This is a tragedy that is more than unacceptable since many of these deaths are preventable,” said Guterres. Road accidents are the leading cause of death among children and people between the ages of five and 29 years old, with 90 percent of these accidents occurring in low and middle-income countries.

Unsafe roads represent a high cost to developing countries, being a major obstacle to the economy of these regions and generating annual losses in their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) between 2-5 percent. These accidents impact thousands of lives by hurting a families’ main earners. “We need more ambitious and urgent measures to reduce the greatest risks, such as speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or any psychoactive substance or drug, lack of use of seatbelts, helmets and child restraint systems, unsafe road infrastructure and unsafe vehicles, poor pedestrian safety and inadequate enforcement of traffic laws” said Guterres.

Mexico saw a total of 301,678 accidents in 2020 of which 81.3 percent involved material damages, 17.6 percent injured victims and 1.1 percent caused the death of at least one person, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) report about Land and Traffic Accidents in Urban Areas (ATUS). The data presented in ATUS concentrate 96.3 percent of the total road accidents that happened in Mexico that year. 

“Putting safety at the heart of our mobility systems is an urgent imperative for health, economy and morale. We must work together to make them work, save lives and build streets and roads for life,” said Etienne Krug, Director of the Department of Social Determinants of Health, WHO. As it stands now, the “price” of getting from one place to another is “unacceptably high,” said Krug. 


Photo by:   Ralf Vetterle
Rodrigo Andrade Rodrigo Andrade Junior Journalist & Industry Analyst