Countries must introduce tougher laws to prevent drivers from speeding or drinking, says the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO released its Global Status Report on Road Safety on Monday (October 19).
“Better laws are needed on speeding, drinking and driving, use of motor cycle helmets, seat belts and child restraints,” WHO director-general Margaret Chan said launching the report.
New legislation would help reduce the toll of 1.25 million people killed each year in road traffic crashes, says the organisation.
Point of view
Traffic crashes are [...] the number one cause of death for people aged 15-29.
Its report points out that although low- and middle-income countries have only half of the world’s vehicles, they have 90 percent of the world’s road traffic deaths.
Harrowing phone footage shows fatal car crash
Earlier this year 20-year-old Kyle Careford and 21-year-old Michael Owen were killed instantly when their vehicle smashed into a wall at high speed in Sussex in the United Kingdom.
The final moments of their lives were filmed by Michael on his mobile phone. The men’s families have released the footage to warn young drivers how easy it is to lose control of a car.
The video footage shows the two men laughing, talking and singing while Michael appears to give driving instructions to Kyle as he speeds through a 50 km/h zone at 144 km/h. “Keep going, keep going… slow it down bruv,” he is heard to say. They appear to have been his final words before the Renault Clio he was driving smashed into a church wall.
“If all this stops one person from making the same mistake, then some good has come from showing this video,” said the mother of Michael Owen, Kat, who has given permission for the publication of images.
Chief Inspector Phil Nicholas, of Surrey and Sussex roads policing unit, said: “If the publication of these images help to save lives, the sad deaths of Michael and Kyle have left a valuable legacy.”
An inquest into the deaths revealed how the two friends had both taken a cocktail of prescribed and illegal drugs that would have limited Kyle’s ability to control the car.
Further, he had no driving licence or insurance to drive the car, which was owned by Michael. They were both wearing seatbelts.
New York cuts traffic deaths to historic lows
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that the city had cut traffic deaths to historic lows by making streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians, and it was possible to do the same around the world.
“Traffic crashes are something like the ninth leading cause of death in the world. They are the number one cause of death for people aged 15-29,” he said. “The fact is that every one of those deaths really is preventable.”