Road Crashes: Predictable and Preventable
A number of factors contribute to road crashes and resulting deaths and severity of injuries. These include:
- Poor road infrastructure and management
- Non-road worthy vehicles
- Unenforced or non-existent traffic laws
- Unsafe road user behaviors and
- Inadequate post-crash care.
By understanding each of these factors and through planning, effective management and evidence-based interventions, road crashes can be predicted and prevented. Having access to accurate and updated information about the current road situation enables drivers, pedestrians and passengers to make informed road safety decisions.
ASIRT’s Road Safety Reviews (RSRs), available for more than 85 countries, provide corporate travelers, study abroad students and faculty, humanitarian organizations and individual travelers with country-specific information helping them to make these decisions.
Reducing Road Crashes
Road safety is a shared responsibility. Reducing road risks requires commitment and informed decision-making by government, industry, non-governmental organizations and international agencies. It also requires the participation of people from many different disciplines, including road engineers, motor vehicle designers, law enforcement officers, health professionals, the media, educators, community groups and individual road users. Strong public awareness campaigns are essential to raise understanding of the issue and motivate individual and governments to take action, comply with existing laws and introduce and/or amend laws that do not exist or are ineffective.
Vision Zero is a strategy first implemented in Sweden in the 1990s to eliminate all traffic fatalities and serious injuries while increasing safe, healthy and equitable mobility for all. Vision Zero has now been adopted in many counties throughout the world. The Vision Zero philosophy maintains that traffic deaths are preventable and compensates for inevitable human errors on the roads. Vision Zero recognizes that people will sometimes make mistakes and therefore the road system and related policies should be designed so that human error does not result in death and serious injury. To accomplish this, a safe system must be designed. The Safe System approach to road safety aims to protect people from death and serious injury by ensuring that all aspects of the transport system are designed to safeguard the road users and the inevitable errors that they will make.
Recommendations for Policy-Makers
The World Report on Road Traffic Injury and Prevention (WHO) suggests:
- Identify a lead agency in government to guide the national road traffic safety effort.
- Assess problems, policies, institutional settings and capacity relating to road traffic injury.
- Prepare a national road safety strategy and plan of action.
- Allocate financial and human resources to address the problem.
- Implement specific actions to prevent road traffic crashes, minimize injuries and their consequences, and evaluate the impact of these actions.
- Support the development of national capacity and international cooperation.