India tops world in deaths due to road mishaps: WHO

Road traffic injury is now the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5–29 years, signalling a need for a shift in the current child health agenda, which has largely neglected road safety. PTI file photo

 India recorded the highest deaths due to road accidents in the world, a latest WHO report has revealed.

India reported 1.51 lakh deaths due to road accidents in 2016, which is highest in the world, followed by China with 58,022 deaths, says the World Health Organisation (WHO) report on Global Status Report on Road Safety-2018 released on Friday.

Globally the number of road traffic deaths continues to climb, reaching 1.35 million in 2016. However, the rate of deaths relative to the size of the world’s population has stabilised in recent years, says the report.

Though progress has been achieved in important areas such as legislation, vehicle standards and improving access to post-crash care, the progress has not occurred at a pace fast enough to compensate for the rising population and rapid motorisation of transport taking place in many parts of the world.

At this rate, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target of 3.6 to halve road traffic deaths by 2020 will not be met, said the report.

Road traffic injury is now the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5–29 years, signalling a need for a shift in the current child health agenda, which has largely neglected road safety.

It is the eighth leading cause of death for all age groups surpassing HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and diarrhoeal diseases.


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Between 2013 and 2016, no reductions in the number of road traffic deaths were observed in any low-income country, while some reductions were observed in 48 middle and high-income countries. Overall, the number of deaths increased in 104 countries during this period, the report said.

“India is the fourth largest vehicle producer in the world and now applies new vehicle safety standards to passenger cars and motorcycles. In 2014, independent crash tests by
Global NCAP’s ‘Safer Cars for India’ initiative showed that some of India’s top-selling models would fail the UN’s frontal impact crash test,” said the report.

In 2015, the government announced the application of new rules consistent with the UN standards for front and side impact and also pedestrian protection, said the report.

The next challenge for India is to accelerate the use of electronic stability control which is currently fitted in over 70% of new passenger cars worldwide but to less than 10% of new cars in India, said the report.

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India tops world in deaths due to road mishaps: WHO

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