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WHO report ranks traffic crashes as eighth leading cause of death

In its 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety, the World Health Organization ranked traffic-related deaths as the eighth leading cause of death in the world as well as the leading cause of death among those aged 5 to 29. The highest number of traffic deaths are in Africa and Southeast Asia. People in low-income countries triple their risk for a fatal traffic crash. West Virginia residents may want to know what's being done about this trend.

New legislation has helped although changes are not swift enough to meet the UN's goal of halving traffic death rates between 2016 and 2020. Of the 175 countries involved in the WHO study, 140 have strategies for road safety. Worldwide, 123 have strategies that meet best practice recommendations for at least one of five hazards: speeding, drunk driving, not wearing motorcycle helmets, not wearing seat belts and not using child restraints.

Most impressively, 174 countries meet the best practice recommendations for drunk driving, which is an increase of 10 times from 2014. However, many of those countries have no BAC thresholds. Just over 70 percent of the 161 countries with seat belt laws meet recommendations.

Poor road infrastructure is a major obstacle with many countries lacking safe crossings and designs that separate motor vehicles from cyclists and pedestrians. Distracted and drugged driving are other issues; these were not covered by the WHO report.

Laws are not always effective in deterring people from negligent driving. If a drunk, distracted or drowsy driver is to blame for an accident, those who are injured may be able to file a claim against that driver's auto insurance company. It all begins with a case evaluation from a lawyer. Personal injury lawyers may have a network of professionals to assist with cases. Lawyers may also handle all negotiations and prepare for litigation.

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