- Road traffic injuries are a leading cause of death and disability in the Western Pacific Region.
- About one quarter of the world's road traffic deaths occur in the Region.
- About 300 000 deaths occur due to traffic accidents.
- Millions more suffer from temporary or permanent disability.
- Road traffic accidents cost some countries up to 4% of their Gross National Product.
- Road traffic injuries are expected to increase further in the coming decade.
Who are mainly affected?
- Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death and disability among those 15 to 44 years of age.
- About 95% of deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries in the Region
- Vulnerable road users (pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists) account for the majority of deaths, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
Behind the numbers
- For every person killed, injured or disabled by a road crash, countless others are deeply affected.
- Many families are driven into poverty by the cost of prolonged medical care, the loss of a family breadwinner or the extra funds needed to care for people with disabilities caused by traffic accidents.
- Road accidents survivors, and their families, friends and other caregivers often suffer adverse social, physical and psychological effects.
Road traffic injuries are preventable
- Traffic accidents are predictable and can often be prevented.
- Making a road traffic system safe requires understanding of the system as a whole and the interaction between its elements, and identifying the potential for intervention.
Role of the health sector
- systematically collecting data through surveillance and surveys;
- researching the causes of road traffic crashes and injuries;
- exploring ways of preventing and reducing the severity of injuries;
- helping to implement road safety interventions; and
- working to persuade policy-makers and decision-makers to address the major issue of injuries.
The health sector has an important role to play, particularly in:
Road safety is a multisectoral responsibility
- Reducing risk in the world’s road traffic systems requires commitment and informed decision-making by government, industry, nongovernmental organizations and international agencies.
- Reducing risks also requires participation by people from many different disciplines, such as road engineers, motor vehicle designers, law enforcement officers, health professionals and community groups.
What can be done?
- Identify a lead agency to push for change,
- Assess the problem,
- Prepare a national plan,
- Allocate adequate resources,
- Implement specific actions,
- Develop national capacity, and
- Cooperate with partners.