Road Safety (and Lack thereof) Case Studies from around the World

An inordinate amount of traffic fatalities occur in developing parts of the world. In some countries, road deaths have surpassed diseases like AIDS and Tuberculosis as a public health threat.

The Washington Post has collected testimonies and data from writers in countries like Nigeria, Indonesia, Colombia, and Mali in a large “Roads Kill” feature. Despite efforts like the U.N. General Assembly’s 2010 resolution proclaiming a “Decade of Action for Road Safety,” donor funding has fallen well below targets and road deaths are increasing: a global death toll of 1.24 million per year is expected to triple by 2030.

Some of the key statistics reported by Tom Hundley and Dan McCarey at the beginning of the "Roads Kill" feature:

  • “Poor countries account for 50 percent of the world’s road traffic but 90 percent of the traffic fatalities.”
  • “The costs associated with these deaths are a ‘poverty-inducing problem,’ according to Jose Luis Irigoyen, a traffic safety specialist at the World Bank. ‘It’s costing on average between 1 and 3 percent of GDP’ in low- and middle-income countries, he said, an amount that can offset the billions of dollars in aid money that these countries currently receive.”

The “Roads Kill” feature also includes an interactive map that surveys the world for case studies, including success stories such as Australia, described as the “poster boy” for reform: “In the mid-1970s, Aussies were among the world’s most reckless drivers, with a death rate of more than 30 per 100,000 in population. But strict enforcement of safe driving laws resulted in an 80 percent decline in road fatalities over the next six decades.”

Full Story: Roads Kill: The toll of traffic accidents is rising in poor countries


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