Over one million people die each year due to road traffic collisions (RTCs) worldwide, and a further 20 to 50 million suffer non-fatal injuries according to the WHO's Global Status Report on Road Safety.
Accidents are the leading cause of death for people under 25 years old, and RTCs account for the majority of these deaths. Many people non-fatally injured in RTCs endure disability and limiting conditions as a result of the injury.
What do we know?
In Shropshire there's a higher than national mortality rate from RTCs, with males aged 15-24 years most likely to be involved in an RTC. RTCs account for 89% of deaths from accidents in all people aged 0-24 years. Young males are more likely to be involved than other age groups because:
- they're more likely to take risks than females and those in other age groups
- they're more inexperienced than older drivers
In Shropshire the majority of roads are rural 'A' or 'B' roads. These are often less busy than roads in urban areas, but are more likely to be twisty, hilly and reduce the distance a driver can see ahead. Traffic is often travelling at higher speed than in urban areas, which also increases the likelihood of more severe RTCs.
What can we do?
- adapt the environment: this can include traffic calming measures, cycle lanes and pedestrian crossing areas
- road safety education and skills training: injuries from RTCs can be reduced through education and promotional interventions that encourage the use of safety equipment
- addressing drink driving: bar server training programmes can improve server behaviours and reduce customer intoxication levels. There is some evidence that they can also reduce night time RTCs
- multi-component interventions: comprehensive programmes combining strategies such as education and traffic calming measures can reduce the incidence of child pedestrian injury
- enforcement of legislation: speed enforcement detection devices can be effective in reducing RTCs and associated injuries