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WHO reports on global efforts to address traffic-related death

According to the World Health Organization, traffic accidents are globally the leading cause of death among those aged 5 to 29 as well as the eighth leading cause of death overall. California drivers may be interested to know that those in low-income countries are at triple the risk for a fatal traffic crash when compared to high-income countries. Thirteen percent of all traffic deaths occur in low-income countries.

WHO released its 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety, which studied the road safety laws of 175 countries and how they held up to best practice recommendations. It focused on multiple behavioral risk factors: speeding, drunk driving and failure to wear a seat belt, wear a motorcycle helmet or use child restraints. Globally, 123 countries have laws that met best practice recommendations for at least one of these.

Compared to 2014, there are 10 times the number of countries, for a total of 174, that meet best practices for drunk driving laws. Of those, however, only 136 have a threshold for blood alcohol concentration. Only 46 of the 169 countries with national speed limit laws meet the recommendation.

Countries can also improve in the matter of road conditions, vehicle safety standards and post-crash emergency care. For example, 43 countries have no standards for pedestrian and cyclist crossings, and 83 have no standard for separating motor vehicles from pedestrians and cyclists.

Drivers who survive a crash may still be left with lifelong conditions, lost income, lost earning capacity and vehicle damage. They may want to find out to what degree the other driver was negligent in order to decide whether to file a claim under auto accident law. Getting legal advice is recommended. If the case is strong, victims might choose to hire a lawyer to speak on their behalf during negotiations or, if worse comes to worst, during a trial.

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