The death toll due to road accidents is increasing gradually all over the world. According to top World Health Organization (WHO) officials, more than 1.3 million people die each year in road traffic accidents ‘more than two every minute’, with nine out of 10 deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Therefore, WHO has come up with two guidelines for policy makers on helmet use and pedestrian safety to help prevent the global crisis of road traffic deaths and injuries. The guidelines for the use of helmets for riders of two and three-wheelers and for the safety of pedestrians, conducted by experts from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), include new evidence and case studies.
Globally, road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among children and young people aged 5 to 29, WHO officials said. “These new manuals are important tools to help policymakers build the safe mobility systems we need to halve accident deaths by 2030,” said Nahan Tran, WHO’s Head of Safety and Mobility.
“Pedestrians are often exposed to danger, especially in developing countries, with poor infrastructure. The rapid proliferation of motorcycles, scooters, bicycles and e-bikes continues and the use of life-saving helmets is essential. Rooted in successful actions and evidence, these manuals determine what works to help save lives,” Tran said.
The road safety expert pointed out that the use of powered two and three wheelers is increasing rapidly in many developing countries, yet the use of quality helmets often lags behind. Two and three wheelers account for about 30 percent of all accident deaths reported to the WHO, with 43 percent of all road traffic deaths from these types of vehicles in the WHO Southeast Asian region. Full-face helmets that are properly fastened reduce fatal injuries by 64 percent and brain injuries by 74 percent.
Globally, pedestrians are some of the most vulnerable road users, according to experts at IIT Delhi. Pedestrian deaths nearly doubled the rate of all other road accident deaths between 2013 and 2016, he said.
Despite this, reports of pedestrian deaths appear to be rare in many developing countries. Professor Geeta Tiwari from IIT Delhi said, “Pedestrians account for about 30 per cent of all road traffic accidents deaths in India. In some large Indian cities, the proportion of pedestrians killed accounts for all road traffic deaths. up to 60 percent.” ,
“Improving the road environment, strengthening the law, and enforcement, including actions to educate road users and change their behavior, can significantly improve pedestrian safety,” she said.
The guidelines were launched at the Dinesh Mohan Memorial Symposium, an international forum to advance progress on reducing road traffic injuries and unintentional injuries, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, which is also known as the IITs. was conducted with support by the Center for Transportation Research Injury Prevention. From the Volvo Research Education Foundation.
(with inputs from PTI)