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From: Alan Denbigh
To: TCA Mailing
Subject: TCA OnLine Week 13-17 July 1998


A recent report from the International Red Cross predicts that road crashes will move up to third place in the world league table for death and disability by the year 2020, just behind clinical depression and heart disease but ahead of respiratory infections, tuberculosis and HIV. In its first century the automobile has claimed 30 million lives. By 1990, traffic accidents killed at least 500,000 people a year and injured a staggering 15 million, according to the World Disasters report, a survey of humanitarian trends issued annually by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

“Traffic accidents already cost the south almost as much as all the aid they receive” said Dr Astrid Heiberg, president of the International Federation. “Crashes hamper growth and progress by costing developing countries around USD 53 billion a year.”

The report says that engineering - from car design to street lights - is far more effective in curbing the number of road crashes than efforts to change driver behaviour. There are simple steps that work almost anywhere, from highlighting accident blackspots, removing roadside objects and separating different traffic types to shifting from junctions to roundabouts. The report concludes that in tackling traffic disaster everyone has a role from governments facing tough choices between different groups’ rights to mobility and safety, to manufacturers, who must be aware of the needs of vulnerable road users who are increasingly the victims of their profitable products.

road protests 1998   |   road protests (current)   |   movement links