Background In the Americas, road traffic injuries are the second leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 24. Most of these deaths occur in low-and-middle income countries and have an immeasurable impact on families and communities throughout the Region. To monitor the progress of road safety situation, WHO and its regional offices (including PAHO) publish periodic reports.
Methods Data were collected from and agreed upon by experts from different sectors in 31 countries, validated at the regional level, and analysed by WHO. Data include variables that reflect the magnitude of road safety problem. In addition, legislative documents related to road safety were collected through online databases and government websites, analysed by a lawyer, and validated by the country’s representative.
Results In 2013, there were 153,789 road traffic deaths in the Americas, with a death rate of 15.8 per 100,000 people. Inequalities exist; death rates are higher in middle-income and low-income countries (19.5 and 15.1 per 100,000, respectively) than in high-income countries (10.3). Almost half of all traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users (VRU): pedestrians (22%), motorcyclists (20%), and cyclists (3%). Deaths among motorcyclists have increased 5% since 2010. Motorization rates are distributed unevenly across countries. Car ownership is on the rise, as is motorcycle ownership is some subregions. The report highlights that less than half of the countries have comprehensive road safety laws on the risk factors (speed and drink-driving) and protective equipment (seat-belts, helmets, and child restraint).
Conclusions More attention should be paid to low and middle-income countries, especially in promoting the development of policies and infrastructure conducive to safe transit for VRU.
Additionally, more efforts should be made to improve and enforcement legislation on risk and protective factors.
- Road traffic injuries
- road traffic legislation
- road safety
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