11.07.2015 | Review Article
Road accident rates: strategies and programmes for improving road traffic safety
K. Goniewicz, M. Goniewicz, W. Pawłowski, P. Fiedor
European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
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Nowadays, the problem of road accident rates is one of the most important health and social policy issues concerning the countries in all continents. Each year, nearly 1.3 million people worldwide lose their life on roads, and 20–50 million sustain severe injuries, the majority of which require long-term treatment.
The objective of the study was to identify the most frequent, constantly occurring causes of road accidents, as well as outline actions constituting a basis for the strategies and programmes aiming at improving traffic safety on local and global levels. Comparative analysis of literature concerning road safety was performed, confirming that although road accidents had a varied and frequently complex background, their causes have changed only to a small degree over the years. The causes include: lack of control and enforcement concerning implementation of traffic regulation (primarily driving at excessive speed, driving under the influence of alcohol, and not respecting the rights of other road users (mainly pedestrians and cyclists), lack of appropriate infrastructure and unroadworthy vehicles.
The number of fatal accidents and severe injuries, resulting from road accidents, may be reduced through applying an integrated approach to safety on roads. The strategies and programmes for improving road traffic should include the following measures: reducing the risk of exposure to an accident, prevention of accidents, reduction in bodily injuries sustained in accidents, and reduction of the effects of injuries by improvement of post-accident medical care.