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Traffic Crashes Named the 8th Leading Cause of Death

The World Health Organization has ranked traffic crashes as the No. 8 leading cause of death globally. While drivers in Mississippi can feel confident that road safety laws are adequately protecting them, this is not the case in many countries. The 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety, released in December by WHO, shows that those in low-income countries are three times more likely to die in a traffic crash than residents in high-income countries.

The statistics show that 13 percent of all fatal traffic crashes occur in low-income countries, despite the fact that only 1 percent of traffic crashes occur in those same countries. Africa and Southeast Asia see the highest percentages. Overall, 29 percent of all fatalities are car occupants, 28 percent are those on motorized two- or three-wheelers and 26 percent are pedestrians and bicyclists.

WHO found that many low-income countries lacked safe roads. Of the 175 countries analyzed in its report, 43 lack national designs for safe pedestrian and bicyclist crossings, and 83 lack standards for separating motor vehicles from bicyclists and pedestrians. In low-income countries, twice as many crash victims die en route to the hospital as in high-income countries.

WHO also focused on speed limits, drunk driving laws and regulations covering seatbelt, motorcycle helmet and child restraint use. They found that 123 countries had laws that met best practice recommendations for at least one of these risk factors.

Traffic crashes can leave survivors with serious injuries, emotional scarring, vehicle damage and lost income. By filing a car accident claim, a victim can strive for damages that cover these and other applicable losses. However, it's important to see a lawyer for a case evaluation first. Legal counsel could negotiate on the victim's behalf with the at-fault party's auto insurance company.