WHO analyzes road safety laws globally in 2018 status report

Illinois residents may want to know the results of the 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety, which was released in December by the World Health Organization. It focused on the road safety laws of 175 countries and how they fare in preventing traffic crashes. According to WHO, traffic crashes are now the No. 8 cause of death worldwide. This puts it ahead of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.

Furthermore, traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among those aged 5 to 29. More than half of all traffic fatalities involve pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists. Low-income countries, though they are the site of only 1 percent of the world's traffic crashes, see about 13 percent of all fatal roadway accidents. The risk for a fatal traffic crash is three times greater in low-income countries.

WHO found that 123 countries have laws that meet best practice recommendations in at least one of five behavioral risk factors. These factors are speeding, drunk driving, seatbelt neglect, failure to wear a motorcycle helmet and the lack of child restraints. The number of countries with the recommended level of drunk driving laws has increased tenfold since 2014.

However, there continues to be major issues with road infrastructure. Researchers say that 132 countries have national design standards for pedestrian and cyclist crossings, and only 92 have standards for separating pedestrians and cyclists from motor vehicles. Inadequate post-crash care also leads to fatalities.

Factors like poor road conditions require motorists to be even more careful. When drivers become negligent and cause a crash, however, they could be held liable. Those who are injured by a reckless driver may obtain compensation with a personal injury claim. Legal counsel can handle all settlement negotiations on behalf of a victim.

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