Where are Roads Safe? According to the World Health Organization’s new Global status report on road safety 2015, there are 1.25 million road traffic deaths each year, and 90% of road traffic deaths occur in low-and middle-income countries, even though these countries have just 54% of the world’s vehicles. Countries are working to make roads safer, but more is needed The report shows that road safety strategies are saving lives. Countries that have had the most success in reducing the number of road traffic deaths achieved this by improving legislation, enforcement, and making roads and vehicles safer. The report reveals that globally:
  • 105 countries have seat-belt laws that apply to all occupants;
  • 47 countries have speed laws defining a national urban maximum speed limit of 50 km/h and empowering local authorities to further reduce speed limits;
  • 34 countries have a drink–driving law with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of less than or equal to 0.05 g/dl as well as lower limits of less than or equal to 0.02 g/dl for young and novice drivers;
  • 44 countries have helmet laws that apply to all drivers, passengers, roads and engine types; require the helmet to be fastened and refer to a particular helmet standard;
  • 53 countries have a child restraint law for occupants of vehicles based on age, height or weight, and apply an age or height restriction on children sitting in the front seat.
Even with these successes, road users around the world are unequally protected and the risk of dying in a road traffic crash still depends, in great part, on where people live and how they move around. The report highlights the need to protect vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists, pedestrians, and cyclists, and to improve vehicle safety standards.
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