Automobile Accident Injuries Have Heavy Toll Worldwide: Report

A new report suggests that the number of automobile accident injuries and traffic deaths are placing a major economic burden on low and middle income countries, warning that social welfare benefits and population income growth are being suppressed by these largely preventable accidents. 

The World Bank issued a new report this week, titled “The High Toll of Traffic Injuries: Unacceptable and Preventable” , which was funded by Bloomberg Philantrophies and highlights the ways these accidents are prohibiting certain nations’ ability to grow economically.

Researchers used a comprehensive methodology to quantify both the income growth and social welfare benefits that safer roadways with less traffic accidents and fatalities could bring to developing countries.

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Each year, an average of 1.25 million people are killed in traffic-related crashes around the world, and another 20 to 50 million are seriously injured, causing a major impact on not just the individuals involved in the accidents, but the families, household, and social networks surrounding those impacted.

The World Bank estimated a disproportionate 90 percent of road traffic injuries occur in developing countries, which is believed by experts to cause struggles in their economic growth as a nation.

Researchers analyzed data collected from 135 countries over a 24 year period, focusing on China, India, the Philippines, Tanzania and Thailand, which have all been classified as LMICs. By reducing the number of traffic related injuries and traffic related fatalities, researchers were able to identify the potential for these developing countries to increase income growth, and generate substantially more welfare benefits to their communities.

By reducing just the number of traffic-related injuries by half in each of the analyzed countries, data indicated the projected long-term national income growth would grow between seven to 22 percent. By preventing mortality and long-term disability among the primary working classes, national income growth would incline.

Further than just economic gains, researchers found that if traffic fatalities and injuries were cut in half, the social welfare would be increased by between six and 32 percent of the national GDP.

The study indicates roadway injuries and fatalities plays a direct, and significant role on the economic development of a country, indicating that the problem is a cross-sectorial issue that requires all relevant stakeholders to contribute toward the development of safer roadways.


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