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  1. Ivan Barry Pless
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ivan Barry Pless, 434, Westmount, Quebec, Canada H3Y2V2; barry.pless{at}

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Tampere declaration

The World Conference in Tampere issued a Declaration much as it has done in the past. Essentially, it called for strong, coordinated whole-of-government and whole-of-society actions to reduce injuries and violence. It stated, ‘Injuries are a leading cause of death among young people globally’ and ‘nearly 90% of the … deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries’. The statement concluded with a detailed list of calls for action. Comment: Some while ago Injury Prevention published a discussion about the value of these conferences. As I recall, the consensus was that the net benefit outweighed the costs.

Crash deaths not accidents

At the world conference in Finland, WHO director Etienne Krug stated that crashes are largely preventable: “We know what needs to be done, it's a question of taking action.” He used as an example the death of a young American in Turkey where preventive opportunities included speed, poor road quality (the bus veered off the road at a known ‘death curve’), no guard rails, a tired driver, poor emergency care and traffic congestion. In contrast, Krug cited Australia’s record where despite increased traffic road deaths have fallen from 3798 in 1970 to 1209 in 2015. The decline is attributed to seatbelts, tougher road rules and random breath testing. Krug also noted that crashes occur more often in low-income and middle-income countries because of lagging road safety laws. Comment: I was pleased that he noted our efforts to discourage the use of the word ‘accident’. “It is not bad luck, it is because prevention programs have not been in place.”

Africa's injury death toll

Etienne Krug told reporters at the World Conference that ‘violence and injuries every day take the lives of more than 14 000 people all over the world’. As our readers will know, for those aged 15–29 years three injury-related causes—traffic, suicide and homicide—are among the …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.