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Better road safety measures could save half a million lives annually worldwide

  • Published
    30th Jun, 2022
Context

According to a new study, more than half a million deaths could be prevented each year by ensuring people wear helmets and seat belts, respect speed limits and don’t drive while drunk.

About
  • This is the first study that gives country-specific estimates of the effect of addressing the four main road safety risk factors through interventions for 185 countries.

Key Findings of the Lancet report:

  • New global and country-level estimates suggest that routinely wearing helmets and seat belts, obeying speed limits, and avoiding driving drunk could save between 347,000 and 540,000 lives worldwide every year.
  • The benefits of more motorcyclists wearing helmets would be the biggest in China, where 13,703 lives could be saved every year, followed by Brazil (5,802 lives), and India (5,683 lives).
  • The Lancet Series on road safety, published ahead of the first ever UN High-Level Meeting on Road Safety, calls for increased political and financial commitments, and for road safety to be included in mainstream development policies.
  • It argues that this is essential to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the target to halve road traffic crash fatalities and injuries by 2030.

Deaths on roads in India:

  • Deaths on roads are a major problem in India.
  • Each year road accidents kill about 150,000 people and injure another 450,000 in the country. 
  • The World Bank noted in a report this month that with only 1 per cent of the world’s vehicles, India accounts for almost 10 per cent of all crash related deaths.

Key findings about India:

  • In India:
  • Interventions to check speeding could save 20,554 lives.
  • Promotion of crash helmets could save 5,683 lives. 
  • Encouraging the use of seatbelts can also save 3,204 lives in the country. 
  • The estimate for drunken driving was not available for India because either the percentage of total deaths due to alcohol consumption was not reported or calculations were found to be unstable.
  • The report uses mortality data from Global Burden Diseases 2017, which are based on modelling and estimated 2,18, 876 deaths due to road injuries in India in 2017
  • According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ 2020 report there were a total 1,31,714 deaths due to road accidents, where
  • speeding accounted for 69.3% of deaths ( 91,239),
  • non-wearing of helmets resulted in 30.1% deaths ( 39,798) and
  • non-use of seatbelts caused 11.5% of deaths (26,896)
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