Mena crash deaths 3 times higher than rich states
Manama, November 21, 2011
Three to four times more people die in car crashes in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) than in some advanced countries, according to a new report.
More than 1.2 million people worldwide die in road crashes and more than 10 million are crippled or injured, it was revealed.
The Middle East represents a disproportionate number of accidents, with 17 to 22 people per 100,000 dying in car accidents every year, according to the report issued by global management and strategy consulting firm Booz & Company.
This is compared with 6.2 people in 34 countries who are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), it added.
OECD aims to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world and 34 countries are members, including the majority of Europe as well as Mexico, US, South Korea and New Zealand.
'Mena government officials recognise the gravity of the situation, yet they tend to systematically underestimate the social and economic costs of road crashes,' it was stated in the report. 'These include not only direct costs, such as medical treatments and damage repairs, but indirect costs, such as loss of economic productivity.”
'When all of these are taken into account, the true socioeconomic cost of road crashes amounts to a staggering one to two per cent of gross domestic product in Mena countries,' it said.
The report states that many Mena governments only have the ability to calculate direct costs, which amount to 25 to 30 percent of the total cost of crashes.
'Their policies and infrastructure planning do not accurately weigh the economic benefits of investments in increased safety, such as intelligent transport systems, or road improvements such as asphalt drainage systems,' it said. 'An accurate analysis of the full costs might further encourage the development of public transportation, which reduces road usage.
'Finally, a complete overview of the costs of road fatalities and injuries is essential for the regulatory framework and insurance market, in order to provide fair compensation to the victims of crashes,' it showed.
The report advocates setting up a comprehensive set of estimates for the socioeconomic cost of crashes.
These could be used to raise awareness about the steep human and economic cost of crashes, as well as to review the legislation and methods for setting the crash victims' compensation.
'Beyond these benefits, Mena governments can ultimately use these estimates as the cornerstone of a strategic, integrated plan for road safety,' it was stated.
'They can start by analysing current road safety, such as transport planning, societal awareness, and enforcement of safety measures. Based on this analysis, they can co-ordinate among police, transport authorities, emergency responders, insurance companies, schools, and others.”
'The objective is to determine challenges, such as unsafe driver behaviour, weak enforcement of traffic laws, or underused technologies for traffic management, and then set corresponding priorities to address them,' it said. – TradeArabia News Service