Cheap cars may cost you your life, warn experts

Car occupants account for 48 pc fatalities: WHO

 India has seen a boom in the sale of compact cars in recent years. One of the major reasons for this is availability of cars at a cheaper rate.

But experts say that these cars increase the chances of fatalities in road accidents as their safety features are not as good as high-end cars. 

According to the World Health Organisation report based on assessment done in 178 countries in 2009, of the total number of people who died in road accidents in the world, 48 per cent were car occupants.

At a media workshop on road safety conducted by the Centre for Media Studies on Tuesday, Dr Etienne Krug of WHO said driving in safer vehicles is equally important, besides following other road safety measures.

“Vulnerable road users including pedestrians, cyclists and two-wheeler drivers made 46 per cent of the total road traffic deaths; 48 per cent of those who died were car occupants,” said Krug.

“If the cars are cheaper, the manufacturers would not be able to provide similar safety features as in other cars,” said Krug.

Krug also said it is high time that all middle and low income countries (LIC) take road safety measures as the maximum fatalities occur in these countries. According to the report, 91 per cent traffic fatalities occur in LIC and MICs, while they hold only 48 per cent of the world’s registered vehicles.

Help from media

The experts asked the media  to highlight road safety issue in a better way as accidents will become the fifth leading cause of death around the world by 2030.
“Road traffic injuries kill nearly 1.3 million people every year. By 2020, they will account for 1.9 million deaths. They are the ninth leading cause of deaths today. By 2030, they will become the fifth leading cause of deaths, resulting in about 2.4 million fatalities per year,” said Krug.

Only Ischemic heart diseases, cerebrovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lower respiratory inspections will lead to more deaths than traffic injury.
Safety decade

The United Nations is observing 2011-2020 as the Decade for Action for Road Safety.
The initiative aims at promoting a paradigm shift in road safety, wherein a government addresses safety issues in a holistic manner that requires involvement of different government agencies.

Experts said that by following simple rules, such as wearing seat belts, helmets and driving within speed limits can make a huge difference in bringing down fatalities.

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