Global Epidemic

Every year more than 1.3 million people die a sudden, violent death in road traffic crashes on the world’s roads. Every day, 3,500 people leave home never to return. Another 50 million more victims are injured every year, many suffering life-long disability. Every 6 seconds someone dies or is seriously injured in a collision somewhere in the world. 9 out of 10 victims are from developing countries. This epidemic of road crash death and injury is already the biggest killer of children and young people aged 10-24 worldwide. A child dies on the world’s roads every 3 minutes. That is more than 260,000 million killed and 11 million injured every year. If no action is taken, by 2015, the epidemic will become the number 1 killer of all children above the age of 5.

As grim as these figures are, the toll of road crash death and injury is forecast to rise to 1.9 million by 2020, most of the increase occurring in the developing world. Road crashes are predicted to leap from 9th place to 5th place, overtaking cancer, HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria as a leading as a cause of death for all age groups by 2030.

Road traffic crashes today cost developing economies at least US$100 billion annually, diverting resources from health, education and economic development. The burden for the healthcare systems of developing countries is immense, with road crash victims occupying up to 60% of hospital beds and reducing resources available for treating diseases and other critical conditions. The human and social costs for grieving families and survivors are impossible to quantify.

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