2018 road safety report from WHO finds traffic deaths on the rise

The World Health Organization has released its 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety. One of its most startling finds is that traffic accidents now make up the eighth biggest cause of death worldwide, above both HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Globally, they are the leading cause of death among those aged 5 to 29. While most Arizona residents only have to contend with negligent drivers, low-income countries are also plagued with many poor road conditions.

Though only 1 percent of the world's traffic crashes occur in low-income countries, 13 percent of the fatal ones occur in them. Africa and Southeast Asia see the highest fatality rates with 26.6 and 20.7 deaths per 100,000 people, respectively. Europe sees the lowest with 9.3 per 100,000 people. Also, more than half of all traffic fatalities are pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists.

WHO analyzed the road safety laws of 175 countries, focusing on five risk factors: speeding, DUI, seatbelt neglect, failure for motorcyclists to wear a helmet and failure to use child restraints. The results were mixed. According to WHO, 123 countries have laws that meet best practice recommendations for at least one of the factors.

Many low-income countries suffer from poor road infrastructure and a lack of safe pedestrian and cyclist crossings. Vehicle safety measures prioritized by the UN have been accepted in only 40 countries. Furthermore, post-crash emergency care is also a problem in many areas.

When human negligence is behind motor vehicle accidents in Arizona, however, victims are generally eligible for compensation. Before the statute of limitations runs out, a crash victim will want to hire a lawyer and proceed with the filing of a third-party insurance claim. The lawyer could bring in medical experts, accident investigators and others to bolster the case and obtain a higher settlement.

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