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U.N. Seeks to Curb World's Traffic Deaths
Date:4/1/2008

Someone is killed or badly injured every six seconds, experts say

TUESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- Over 1.2 million people die each year on the world's roadways -- more than are killed by major scourges such as malaria or diabetes.

In response to this growing epidemic, the United Nations' General Assembly on Monday approved the first ever conference on road safety, to be held next year in Russia.

It's high time the issue of traffic fatalities got the attention it deserves, advocates said, especially since experts expect vehicle ownership in populous nations such as China and India to double in the next 20 years.

"We have an epidemic in the making -- one that we can stop," said Dr. Mark Rosenberg, the U.S. member of the Commission for Global Road Safety and moderator of a press briefing Monday at the United Nations in New York City. "We have solutions at hand -- what we don't have is the attention of the world to this problem," he added.

The Make Roads Safe campaign, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group that's long lobbied for global action on traffic deaths, offered these grim statistics on the scope of the problem:

  • More than 1 million people are killed worldwide, and more than 50 million are injured in traffic accidents each year.
  • Road deaths are now the number-one global killer of people aged 10 to 24.
  • While 965 people lost their lives in air crashes last year, more than 3,000 people die on the world's roadways every day.
  • 85 percent of traffic casualties occur in low- and middle-income countries. For example, the rate of child deaths due to road accidents in South Africa is 26 per 100,000 population, compared with 1.7 per 100,000 in Europe.
  • Someone is killed or badly injured on the world's roads every six seconds.

"A lot of us have been trying to bring this issue forward for a long time, but the public tends not t
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