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RESEARCH STUDY

RESEARCH

Road Safety in the Americas

AUTHOR:

Pan American Health Organization

SPONSOR/INSTITUTION:

Bloomberg Philanthropies

YEAR PUBLISHED:

2016

PUBLICATION:

World Health Organization Regional Office of the Americas

KEY HIGHLIGHTS:

This report is a Road Safety report for the Latin America region and does not focus on vision. The Vision Impact Institute is working with WHO and PAHO to include vision as part of the discussion on future studies.

  • Some 154,089 people died on the road in the Region of the Americas in 2013, about 12% of the world’s traffic deaths. This figure represents a 3% increase in road traffic deaths in the Region, rising from 149,357 deaths in 2010.

  • The road traffic mortality rate for the Region—15.9 per 100,000 population—falls below the global rate of 17.4.  However, half of the countries in the Americas have higher road traffic death rates than the regional rate of 15.9.

  • The difference in the mortality rates also is seen at the country level. This alarming reality is shown by the large death rate range among countries, such as Canada (6.0) with the lowest death rate and Dominican Republic (29.3) with the highest rate per 100,000 inhabitants.

  • Most countries in the Region of the Americas also suffer from underreporting of road traffic deaths and must improve data quality—21% of road traffic deaths are included in the road user category of “other or unspecified.”

  • The Americas faces a rising trend in motorization, partially due to the economic development seen in many countries. As motorization increases in the Region, the countries are faced with the need to improve road infrastructure as a key need for making roads safer and incorporate safe vehicle standards in order to prevent and reduce serious consequences following a crash.

  • The implementation and full enforcement of legislation have proven to be effective in changing road-user culture and behavior to reduce road traffic casualties, including drinking and driving, speed limits, use of helmets, seat belts and child restraints.  The study concludes that promulgating and enforcing laws that deal with key risk factors and that are based on best practices are essential ingredients in achieving such change.