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World struggles to cut road deaths

Tuesday October 20th, 2015

The world is making slow progress in tackling the toll of deaths on the roads, according to a major report published yesterday.

The World Health Organisation report says that 1.25 million people die globally each year from traffic accidents.

The report says 68 countries have seen an increase in deaths on the roads - while 79 have seen reductions.

Some 23% of deaths are of motorcyclists - and in the Americas their share of deaths has increased, reaching 20%, the report warns.

Pedestrians represent 22% of deaths, the report says.

The report says Europe has the world's lowest death rates while the highest are in Africa.

It shows that while 105 countries have good seat-belt laws just 34 have effective drink-driving laws and 47 have "good" speed laws.

WHO director general Dr Margaret Chan said: “We’re moving in the right direction. The report shows that road safety strategies are saving lives.

"But it also tells us that the pace of change is too slow.”

The report's findings were backed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose philanthropic foundation funded the work.

He said: “Thanks to stronger laws and smarter infrastructure, nearly half a billion people in the world are better protected from road crashes than were just a few years ago - and we have the opportunity to do much more, especially when it comes to enforcing laws."

Tags: A&E | World Health

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