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Tuesday, October 20, 2015, Kartik 5, 1422 BS, Muharram 6, 1437 Hijr

Despite Progress, Road Fatalities Still Too High
Pedestrians make up 32pc of BD road crash victims: WHO
Staff Correspondent
Published :Tuesday, 20 October, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 18
Over 21 thousand people died in road accidents across Bangladesh in just a year 2012 while pedestrians account to 32 per cent of the total casualty, according to a WHO annual report.
The other road crash victims are: passengers of four-wheeled cars and light vehicles (28 percent), drivers of four-wheeled cars and light vehicles (13 per cent), riders of motorized two or three-wheelers (11 percent), drivers or passengers of buses (8 percent), drivers or passengers of heavy trucks (6 percent) and cyclists (2 percent),.
The country also loses an estimated 1.6 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) due to road traffic crashes, states the Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015, which was released on Monday.
The annual report said some 1.25 million people die each year in the world as a result of road traffic crashes despite improvements in road safety.
"Road traffic fatalities take an unacceptable toll - particularly on poor people in poor countries," said Dr Margaret Chan, Director General of WHO, in a press release. "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."
Though 79 countries have seen a decrease in the absolute number of fatalities in the last three years, 68 countries have seen an increase.
Countries that have had the most success in reducing the number of road traffic deaths have achieved this by improving legislation, enforcement, and making roads and vehicles safer, the press release said.
Meanwhile, Ilyas Kanchan, an actor and Chairman of Nirapad Sarak Chai (We Demand Safe Roads), told the Daily Observer "The disparities among various organisations' data on road accidents are alarming."
There has been a sharp rise in road accidents, significantly highway accidents, in Bangladesh over the past few years, he said.
The WHO and the Accident Research Centre (ARC) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), said road accidents leave at least 35,000 people injured every year, many of whom die later in hospital or home but do not figure in the toll list.
Meanwhile, a big gap still separates high-income countries from low- and middle-income ones where 90 percent of road traffic deaths occur in spite of having just 54 percent of the world's vehicles.
Europe, in particular the region's wealthier countries, has the lowest death rates per capita; Africa the highest. More countries acting on road safety, but further action is required.
But more countries are taking action to make roads safer. In the last three years, 17 countries have aligned at least one of their laws with best practice on seat-belts, drink-driving, speed, motorcycle helmet or child restraints.
The report, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, reveals that globally 105 countries have good seat-belt laws that apply to all occupants;
47 countries have good speed laws defining a national urban maximum speed limit of 50 Km/h and empowering local authorities to further reduce speed limits; 34 countries have a good drink-driving law with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of less than or equal to 0.05 g/dl as well as lower limits of less than or equal to 0.02 g/dl for young and novice drivers.
Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable, making up 23 percent of all road traffic deaths. In many regions, this problem is increasing; in the region of the Americas, for example, the proportion of motorcycle deaths out of all road traffic fatalities rose from 15 percent to 20 percent between 2010 and 2013. In the South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions, a third of all road traffic deaths are among motorcyclists.
Pedestrians and cyclists are also among the groups with the least protection, making up 22 percent and 4 percent of global deaths respectively.
The lack of policies aimed at vulnerable road users is killing people and harming our cities. If we make walking and cycling safer there will be fewer deaths, more physical activity, better air quality, and more pleasant cities.
The report also found that some vehicles sold in 80 percent of all countries worldwide fail to meet basic safety standards, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where nearly 50 percent of the 67 million new passenger cars were produced in 2014.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
Published by the Editor on behalf of the Observer Ltd. from Globe Printers, 24/A, New Eskaton Road, Ramna, Dhaka. Editorial, News and Commercial Offices : Aziz Bhaban (2nd floor), 93, Motijheel C/A, Dhaka-1000. Phone :9586651-58. Fax: 9586659-60, Advertisemnet: 9513663, E-mail: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]