Most road traffic deaths, injuries occur in poor states: WHO report

29Dec 2018
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Most road traffic deaths, injuries occur in poor states: WHO report

LOW-income countries have been named as a major contributing factor in delays to global initiatives for reducing road traffic deaths and injuries, according to a recent global status report by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The report requested the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to track the progress towards global goals that low-and middle-income countries bear the greatest burden of road traffic fatalities and injuries.

Presenting the report to journalists during a road safety training recently in Dodoma, coordinator for violence and injury prevention - road safety, health systems cluster for WHO, Mary Kessi, said that 175 countries participating in this report, 123 have road traffic laws that meet best practice for one or more key risk factors.

  1. to the report, road traffic is now the leading cause for children and young adult injuries aged 5-29 years, signalling a need to shift in the current child agenda which has largely neglected road safety.

The report noted that there has been no reduction in the number of road traffic deaths in any low-income country since 2013, unlike in middle and high-income countries where some reductions were observed in 48 middle and high-income countries.

Overall, the number of deaths has increased in 104 countries during this period.

The available data shows that the change in the number of road traffic deaths in low-income countries was up by 27per cent only, compared to middle-income countries with 60 per cent.

The study added that the road traffic injuries were the eight leading causes for all ages, with the number of road traffic deaths continuing to climb, reaching a high of 1.35million in 2016.

According to Kessi, Tanzania has got no maximum rural speed limit together with maximum motorway speed limit, a loophole that accelerates the increase in accidents.

“There is absence of good motorcycle helmet law while seat belt law applies to front and rear seat occupants,” she said.

The report said that 13 countries have national strategies for road safety that are funded, while only 12 countries have laws that make best practice for at least three of the five key risk factors.

The report detailed that Tanzania has got no law that restricts drink-driving for most drivers. The risk of driving behaviour being impaired by alcohol starts at very low levels of alcohol consumption and begins to rise exponentially as more alcohol is consumed, particularly over blood alcohol concentration level of over 0.05 (grams per decilitre).

“Young drivers are at a much-increased risk of having a road traffic crash when under the influence of alcohol compared to older and more experienced drivers,” the report explained.