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Report urges action on road deaths

01.01.70

Road deaths are a "global epidemic" and world leaders must do more to tackle the problem, a safety report has said.

Around the world one child dies every three minutes in a road accident, added the report launched in London by the Commission for Global Road Safety.

Failure to tackle road fatalities will jeopardise key development goals on health and poverty, said the commission's chairman, former UK defence secretary and ex-Nato chief Lord Robertson.

The report showed that around the world 1.2 million people are killed and 50 million injured each year on the roads, 500 children are killed every day and 3,000 people are killed each day with 85% of casualties in low and middle-income countries. Road deaths in these countries are forecast to double by 2020.

The report argued that road deaths were a global epidemic on the scale of malaria and tuberculosis, yet received funding which was a tiny fraction of that allocated to the two diseases.

Lord Robertson will be sending the report, entitled Make Roads Safe, to all the G8 leaders in advance of the St Petersburg G8 Summit in July, and is calling for global road safety to be included in the agenda of a future G8 summit.

Lord Robertson, himself the survivor of a serious car crash, said: "In 2005 millions of people, and the leaders of the G8, responded to the call to Make Poverty History. Yet many of the gains for development won in 2005 will be at risk if action is not taken to reverse the growing epidemic of road traffic death and injury, with its terrible human and economic cost."

He continued: "Every day 3,000 people are killed in road crashes. We know that many of these deaths are preventable. But we need political leadership from the G8 and a significant increase in resources if we are to make roads safe."

To promote the messages of the report, a campaign has been started, led by the European automobile group the FIA Foundation and the RAC Foundation.

Formula One superstar Michael Schumacher, a member of the Commission for Global Road Safety, said: "We need to make people aware of the real human cost of road traffic injuries across the developing world. Five hundred children are dying every day and thousands more are being disabled or injured. This is why I support the campaign to make roads safe."

Copyright Press Association Ltd 2006, All Rights Reserved.

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