WHO: Here’s How to Reduce Crashes in the U.S.
The World Health Organization suggests the U.S. may reduce the occurrence of auto accidents through a holistic approach that involves actions to address road users, the safety of roads, and vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates more than 6.4 million motor vehicle collisions occurred across the U.S. in 2017, causing an average of five injuries every minute and one death every 14 minutes.
A Rounded Approach to Automobile Accident Prevention
Due to the predictable and preventable nature of car crashes, WHO advises a coordinated implementation of strategies with targeted interventions that may improve traffic safety throughout the country. Advocating for road safety at the global level, WHO created Save LIVES: a road safety technical package to guide governments in establishing and implementing a comprehensive strategy to limit the occurrence of auto accidents. The package prioritizes components including speed management, leadership on road safety, improvement of infrastructure and road design, vehicle safety standards, and enforcement of traffic laws, and associated interventions.
Addressing Road Users
Human errors and actions play a role in many car crashes, making raising public awareness of vital importance to WHO’s plan for reducing traffic collisions. Creating an agency to develop, monitor, and evaluate strategies may contribute to helping make drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and others who use the roads aware of the dangers and how to avoid them. Such agencies may also develop educational programs and campaigns aimed at informing the public and garnering support. Ensuring adequate enforcement of the traffic laws may ensure greater compliance.
Addressing the Safety of Roads
Based on its recommendations, WHO suggests focusing on the infrastructure, design, and policing of streets and highways may help reduce the occurrence of traffic accidents, and their resulting serious injuries and deaths. States and the federal government may take measures to provide safe sidewalks, crossings, underpasses, and overpasses; implementing speed control devices such as speed bumps, rumble strips, and roundabouts; and establishing and implementing traffic laws at the nationally, locally, and citywide.
Addressing Vehicle Safety
Efforts to cut down on the occurrence of motor vehicle accidents should also include vehicle safety standards. Putting regulations in place to push automobile manufactures to develop and include features such as anti-collision braking, side-impact warning, and electronic stability control may help ensure the vehicles on the roads are the safest options. WHO also advises safety standards relating to the use of seatbelts, seatbelt anchorages, and child restraints to help ensure driver and occupant safety.