It’s been about a year since the Long Short Walk for Road Safety in Washington, DC, which we did with attending physician US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin (see: Photo Friday: The Surgeon General, Listening | Ted Eytan, MD), and there’s still cause to be worried about road safety:
worldwide the total number of road traffic deaths remains unacceptably high at 1.24 million per year. Only 28 countries, covering 7% of the world’s population, have comprehensive road safety laws on five key risk factors: drinking and driving, speeding, and failing to use motorcycle helmets, seat-belts, and child restraints. (Global Status report on road safety)
I think there’s good understanding that obesity is an important health problem of our time.
I don’t think there’s good knowledge that road safety is one of the most important determinants of our ability to solve this problem. As you can probably guess, road (un)safety disproportionately affects vulnerable populations.
The number of Americans killed every year is 30,000. World wide, traffic fatalities will eclipse diabetes, hypertension, and many cancers as the most common cause of death. These deaths and injuries can be prevented, and may be as impactful as any intervention to improve the total health of a population.
April 10 is a big day for this issue at the United Nations, when the global road safety crisis will be debated., which is why it’s good to reflect:
- This is still a crisis
- All the technology and motivation in the world can’t overcome an environment that threatens lives.
Learn more at the United Nations Decade of Action.
You can find my previous posts about road safety here.