According to the World Health Organization, road traffic fatalities are now the leading cause of death amongst children and young adults between the ages of five and 29 around the world. In 2016, they resulted in more than 1.3 million people dying, and by 2030, they are expected to become the seventh leading killer worldwide. Bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians comprise more than half of all traffic-related deaths, with car occupants leading in the total of road traffic deaths. In addition, approximately 50 million people who survive traffic accidents each year are still left injured.
These injuries and deaths are most certainly connected to the rise of autos and other motorized vehicles around the world. Just between 2010 and 2013, the number of registered vehicles increased by 16 percent, and it is expected that there are more than one billion cars out on the roads today.
The problem with this steadily increasing phenomenon is that existing safety systems have not been able to keep pace. As a result, some experts have dedicated themselves to looking at what, specifically, is causing these problems and how best to address them. They have placed both issues and interventions into several different categories, including the following:
Changing Both Driving & Riding Behavior
While, historically, impaired driving has been dominated by alcohol-related issues, and alcohol is still very much an issue in terms of accidents on the roads, there are now additional issues contributing to significant driver impairment issues, such as marijuana, opioids, and drivers and/or passengers failing to wear seatbelts, speeding, and/or not wearing helmets while riding a motorcycle.
There is no question that the design of the streets, sidewalks, and everything else that forms our road systems can make or break safety on the roads, depending upon their design. For example, narrower streets tend to help prevent speeding; widening sidewalks is helpful for pedestrian safety, and adding additional crosswalks can also provide pedestrians with additional protection. In fact, cities that have improved infrastructure have decreased traffic-related deaths by approximately 45 percent, sometimes by simply making some engineering changes.
Sustainable Support, Making Alternatives More Available
Obviously, fewer cars on the road will lead to fewer accidents, and therefore, alternatives to both cars and motorbikes must be continually developed. Greater safety standards which allow us to remove defective vehicles and motorbikes are also important.
Strengthening Regulations & Policies
We must increase enforcement and officer training as related to mandating the use of seatbelts, child restraints, and helmets, obeying red light laws, and other road safety practices.