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A new report from the World Bank states there is a “a strong financial case for increasing investments in safe and clean road transport”.

Transport for Health, published jointly with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, shows that deaths caused by motorised road transport globally now exceed those from HIV, TB or malaria, with crashes accounting for more than 90 per cent of them.

In addition, injuries and illness are undermining economic and social development, although improved transport also brings economic and social gains.

Launching the report at a London seminar, World Bank senior transport advisor Mark Shotten, of the Global Road Safety Facility, said a “holistic approach” is needed and that otherwise road deaths were “only going to¬† get worse”.

The report states: “Addressing the enormous and growing health losses from road transport will require large investments in building and managing transport systems that are safe, clean, and affordable.

“Although this report does not aim to estimate monetary losses, calculations based on the 2001 WHo Report of the Commission on Macro Economics and Health have shown that such losses are substantial.”

Aside from the personal tragedies, the cost to gross domestic product every year from road crashes range from 1 per cent to as much as 10 per cent (in Uganda), with India being around the median figure at 4.6 per cent.

The FIA Foundation is leading the international effort to have road safety officially included in the post-2015 development agenda, when a new set of global targets will be agreed in the United Nations system to replace the Millennium Development Goals.

Saul Billingsley, the FIA Foundation executive director, told the seminar that the data were now clear, and asked: “What are we going to do about it?”

Public World managing director Brendan Martin argued that one aspect of the problem often overlooked in the development community is that the employment terms of many commercial drivers incentivise unsafe driving behaviour and cause fatigue.

“If the development community is going to take road safety more seriously it will have to start taking the rights, wellbeing and voice of transport workers more seriously too,” he argued.


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