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Geneva, Switzerland - Only 28 countries have traffic laws aimed at mitigating all the main vehicle safety risk factors, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday in Geneva.
The WHO called on countries to introduce necessary laws as soon as possible, as currently only 7 per cent of the global population is protected by comprehensive laws in all five key areas: drinking and driving; speeding; motorcycle helmet usage; seat belt use; and child restraint.
“If this cannot be ensured, families and communities will continue to grieve and health systems will continue to bear the brunt of injury and disability due to road traffic crashes,” WHO Director General Margaret Chan said.
Road accidents claimed 1.24 million people around the world in 2010 and figures have not improved since 2007, the WHO said, citing the latest available data.
The risk of getting killed in traffic is highest in middle-income countries where car ownership is on the rise, especially in Africa.
People in Africa have the highest such risk - 24 of 100 000 people. The rate is lowest in Europe, where only 10 of 100 000 are likely to die this way.
Seat belts laws are the most common of the five types of laws.
However, such rules are still lacking in Central and Western Africa and South-East Asia, the report showed.
Country-wide urban speed limits of 50km/h are the rarest type of traffic law.
Such laws still have to be introduced in most of South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, the WHO said. -Sapa