13 January 2018

Africa: Poor Road Designs to Blame for Fatalities

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Poor road design rather than reckless driving in developing countries is to blame for the high number of deaths and injuries from road accidents every year, a new report says.

The Safe and Sustainable: A Vision and Guidance for Zero Road Deaths, study released last week by the World Resources Institute and the World Bank, says that about 1.25 million people are killed and millions others injured in road accidents every year, but the numbers of could be significantly lower if the roads were properly designed to prevent or reduce fatalities after human error.

According to the report, the most effective way to prevent traffic deaths is adopting a "safe systems" approach.

Data from 53 countries shows that approach which is built on the premise that human error is inevitable but traffic fatalities and serious injuries are not, achieved both the lowest rates of traffic deaths and the largest reductions in fatalities over 20 years, and could save a million lives per year if all countries adopted it.

Safe system approach

"We can dramatically reduce and eventually eliminate road crash fatalities if we follow a Safe System approach," said the head of the World Bank's Global Road Safety Facility, Soames Job.

The report recommends city and road planners to, among other things, design roads to move traffic at appropriate speeds, apply design techniques to control speeds and improve visibility at intersections, physically separate highways in urban areas from pedestrians.

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