Expert calls for strong, sustainable action to make world roadways safer

December 7, 2018, George Washington University
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) report on road safety, more than 1.3 million people die on the world's roadways each year—and millions more are injured or disabled. Yet despite the huge cost to families from New York to Mumbai, that death toll has not changed much in the last decade.

A commentary published today in The Lancet Public Health says that these reports, while extremely valuable, have not brought about the needed change, and it is time to start holding policymakers accountable for making roads safer.

"More than a million people are dying from traffic crashes on roadways around the world—and that toll has not declined since 2009," said Adnan Hyder, MD, MPH, Ph.D., senior associate dean for research and professor of global at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH), who authored the commentary. "While we see bright spots where road injuries have been reduced, the widespread change needed to prevent these deaths across the world has not happened so far."

Hyder goes on to say that the new 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety serves as a for monitoring the risks, outcomes and progress related to but such measurements alone do not bring down the .

What needs to happen?

First, Hyder says that governments must commit to reducing traffic deaths by delegating both authority and financial resources to make roadways safer.

Second, WHO and partners must support a truly multi-sectoral approach to road and make it a priority not only for health and transportation officials but also for those in the environment, justice, education and economic sectors.

Third, WHO needs to provide support, operational assistance and implementation guidance so that member countries can actually put in place effective interventions on the ground to make roads safer.

Fourth, WHO and partners must help develop the relatively weak non-governmental sector around this issue. Expansion of non-governmental organizations that take an interest in road safety will help promote social and political change on a broad scale, he says.

Finally, the commentary says WHO and partners must acknowledge threats to road safety, including those posed by industry. For example, Hyder says the alcohol industry "openly engages and promotes action that at best have little or no evidence of impact." He calls on the United Nations to adopt a policy of non-engagement with industries where there is such potential for conflict of interest.

"Safe roads are of critical importance for people around the world," Hyder said. "Accepting our lack of progress is the first step to developing a strong and sustainable set of actions for changing the status quo on global safety."

The commentary, "Measurement is Not Enough for Global Road Safety: Implementation is the Key," was published Dec. 7 in The Lancet Public Health.

Explore further: Researchers recommend steps to improve implementation of global road safety

More information: Adnan A Hyder. Measurement is not enough for global road safety: implementation is key, The Lancet Public Health (2018). DOI: 10.1016/S2468-2667(18)30262-7

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7 comments

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dogbert
1 / 5 (2) Dec 07, 2018
Transportation is inherently dangerous.
Any efforts to reduce traffic injuries/deaths will necessarily be tied to reduced speed.
The WHO should stop trying to micromanage the world.
betterexists
1 / 5 (3) Dec 07, 2018
We have flyovers all over. Obtain awful amounts of steel first. Then, Use Robots to make parts(units) of Bridge. After that, Ask Robots to attach them from west to east all over the planet, OVER THE OCEANS !
Minimum human intervention should be there, except by the Engineers to keep the expenditure to the minimum !
betterexists
1 / 5 (2) Dec 07, 2018
We have flyovers all over. Obtain awful amounts of steel first. Then, Use Robots to make parts(units) of Bridge. After that, Ask Robots to attach them from west to east all over the planet, OVER THE OCEANS !
Minimum human intervention should be there, except by the Engineers to keep the expenditure to the minimum !

Certainly Not a Wacky Idea.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (3) Dec 07, 2018
Self-driving cars will make roads inherently safer. We have little idea yet how they will affect highway design, but they will probably reduce the need for all the roads we now have because they will be vastly more efficient. Intercommunicating cars can travel much closer together at much higher speeds. In addition, population growth is subsiding and drone transport of goods and people might further reduce capacity.

Hopefully this potential is included in planning so we arent building a lot of highways we wont need, or designing them in ways incompatible with AI car technology.
Gigel
5 / 5 (3) Dec 07, 2018
While talking about the alcohol industry, let's not forget about the phone industry...
pntaylor
5 / 5 (1) Dec 08, 2018
"Hopefully this potential is included in planning so we arent building a lot of highways we wont need, or designing them in ways incompatible with AI car technology."

It will be quite some time, before that happens.
It has been said, of government projects:
"There is never enough time or money, to do it right, but there is Always enough time and money, to do it over."
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Dec 11, 2018
"Ford Motor CEO Mark Fields told CNBC that Ford plans to have a "Level 4 vehicle in 2021, no gas pedal, no steering wheel, and the passenger will never need to take control of the vehicle in a predefined area.""

"Hyundai – Highway 2020, Urban Driving 2030"

-Typical of all major mfrs.

"In 2015 Volvo became the first car company to promise to accept full liability whenever one of its cars are in autonomous mode."

-And of course highway designers are already planning for this:

"...an "autonomous vehicle corridor" replacing the I-5 freeway between Seattle and Vancouver. In other words, that entire stretch of critical roadway linking two major cities across an international border would be given over to driverless cars by 2040, with no old-fashioned, human piloted, cars allowed."

-So no it wont be 'quite some time', it will be tomorrow.

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