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Monday, November 14, 2011

How Much Global Road Crashes Cost Us?

YOURS strives to offer its subsribers and members digestable information to build capacity and increase knowledge of global road safety issues. There are many scholarly reports written on road safety which are often hard to understand for their technical approach. In this article, we focus on the major economic and social costs of global road crahes by pulling information from scholarly texts that is easy to understand.

Everyone killed, injured or disabled by a road traffic crash has a network of others, including family and friends, who are deeply affected. Globally, millions of people are coping with the death or disability of family members from road traffic injury. It would be impossible to attach a value to each case of human sacrifice and suffering, add up the values and produce a figure that captures the global social cost of road crashes and injuries.

The economic cost of road crashes and injuries is estimated to be 1% of gross national product (GNP) in low-income countries, 1.5% in middle-income countries and 2% in high-income countries. The global cost is estimated to be US$ 518 billion per year. Low-income and middle-income countries account for US$ 65 billion, more than they receive in development assistance.

Road traffic injuries place a heavy burden, not only on global and national economies but also household finances. Many families are driven deeply into poverty by the loss of breadwinners and the added burden of caring for members disabled by road traffic injuries.

Adapted from: World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention (World Health Organization, 2004:55)

Road traffic crashes have a devastating emotional impact on the families and communities involved: every death represents the loss of a father, wife, son, daughter, brother or sister. And there is an equally devastating economic impact: the sudden violence of a road death often robs a family of its only breadwinner. Road injuries can impose a life long cost of caring for severely disabled family members.

Low and middle income countries are disproportionately affected by road crashes. Despite having lower levels of motorisation than developed countries, developing countries have generally very poor road safety records. While there has been a downward trend in road fatalities in rich countries over the past thirty years, developing nations are experiencing dramatic increases in road traffic injuries.

More than 1.3 million people are killed and between 20 and 50 million are seriously injured each year in road crashes. In total, up to 500 million people may be injured in road crashes annually, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). The majority of these, about 90%, occur in those countries classified by the World Bank as being low or middle income.

Adapted from: Counting the Cost of Road Crashes and the Poor (FIA Foundation, 2005:2)

Source: Youth Road Safety

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