Implications of Road Safety in National Productivity and Human Development in Asia
Conference contribution, 2014
Fatalities and injuries due to road transport have an enormous impact on the well-being of people, economy and productivity. Therefore Road Safety is one of the core elements of a sustainable transport system as is reflected in the 2013 Bali Declaration, which introduced the “Vision Three Zeros ‐ Zero Congestion, Zero Pollution, and Zero Accidents”.
The latest WHO and IMHE-World Bank publications estimate that yearly around 1.3 million deaths due to road accidents occur worldwide. Almost 80 million are injured of which more than 9 million would need hospital admissions with often long-term disabilities as a consequence. If also indirect deaths caused by air pollution from motorized transport are included the total number of deaths exceeds 1.5 million corresponding to over 4000 lost lives per day.
The objectives of this paper are to:
Review and summarize the most recent and relevant information on the global road safety problem and its impact on productivity. The focus is on the Asian EST region currently consisting of 24 countries including the two most populated areas in the world - China and India.
Present accident and injury prevention strategies based on experience and effectiveness in developed countries and their potential for implementation in Asia.
Discuss the way forward by summarizing the most relevant opportunities to prevent road fatalities and injuries in the Asian EST region and thus how road safety can contribute to achieve the Bali Vision- Zero Accidents.
This paper concludes with recommendations on how the safety situation in the Asian EST countries can be improved and in particular within the developing countries. This is done by stressing a number of the most important recommendations from the 2011-2020 Decade of Action for Road Safety and by a number of recommendations directly following from the review in this paper. The recommendations are grouped within the 5 pillars of the Decade of Action: Road safety management, Safer roads and mobility, Safer vehicles, Safer road users and Post-crash response. The WHO recommendations include, among others, the following ones which have shown to be effective in many countries and which can be introduced on a relative short term:
• Implementation of UN vehicle safety regulations and new car assessment programmes (NCAPs).
• Implementation of measures concerning the 5 risk factors: speed, drunk–driving, not wearing motorcycle helmets, not wearing seat-belts and not using child restraints.
Additional specific recommendations resulting from this paper deal with safe public transport, utilisation of ICT for safety improvement, separate lanes for Non-Motorized Traffic (NMT), maintenance of roads, introduction of collision avoidance technologies in vehicles (including compulsory alcohol locks), truck safety in crashes with other road users, measures to improve motorcycle safety (ABS, protective clothing, visibility) and recommendations concerning safety of pedestrians, cyclists and elderly road users.
Finally it is recommended that when introducing any measure a “base-line” status is established and means to track progress and effectiveness. Few of the recommendations mentioned in this paper can act in isolation – enhanced road safety is the result of a persistent systems approach and collaboration towards a shared challenging goal.