Jeffrey E. Johnston

WHO releases report on traffic accidents worldwide

People in Georgia who use their seat belts and avoid driving drunk or speeding are less likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident than those who do not follow these practices. The World Health Organization's 2018 Global Report on Road Safety also identified failure to use child restrains or motorcycle helmets as contributors to the worldwide fatality rate in traffic accidents in 2016 of 1.35 million deaths. This is the leading cause of death worldwide for people ages 5 to 29 and is the eighth leading cause of death globally across all ages.

Traffic deaths are higher in lower-income countries than in higher-income countries despite the fact that there are fewer motor vehicles in lower-income countries. Lower-income countries have also had the least success in reducing traffic fatalities. In 48 high- and middle-income countries, traffic deaths dropped from 2013 to 2016 compared to no reduction in low-income countries.

In addition to best practices regarding lower speed limits, drunk driving laws and use of restraints, research indicates that road infrastructure is also a factor in safety. For example, undivided roads lead to more head-on crashes while pedestrians are at risk for injury or death when there are no sidewalks or safe areas for crossing. The report also found that post-crash medical attention is important in survival rates.

In the United States, if a person is injured in a traffic accident and another party is fully or partly at fault, that party might be liable for paying for the person's expenses related to the accident. While this could be another driver, it might be a manufacturer if the accident was due to equipment failure. If a commercial vehicle causes the accident, the company the driver works for may be held responsible. If an accident occurs because the road is poorly maintained, the party responsible for road maintenance might be liable.

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