New Jersey readers may be surprised to learn that the worldwide number of traffic-related deaths is increasing. In fact, global traffic deaths reached an all-time high of 1.35 million in 2016, according to a new report by the World Health Organization.
The report, entitled the 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety, says that traffic deaths are now the eighth leading reason of death for people of all ages, moving ahead of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Furthermore, motor vehicle accidents are the top cause of death worldwide for young people between the ages of 5 and 29. That said, the rate of traffic deaths has remained steady for the last 15 years, staying at around 18 deaths per 100,000 people.
According to the report, people living in low-income countries are three times more likely to get killed in a traffic-related accident than those who reside in high-income countries. In addition, poor countries own only 1 percent of the world's motor vehicles, but they account for 13 percent of the world's traffic deaths. One reason poorer countries suffer more traffic deaths is that they often lack strong road safety regulations, including laws on drunk driving, motorcycle helmets, seatbelts and child restraints. Another reason is that they don't always provide quality post-crash emergency care. As a result, car crash victims in low-income countries are more than twice as likely to die en route to the hospital. The United Nations wants to halve the world's traffic fatalities by 2020, but the WHO report says that not enough progress is being made to reach that goal.
Victims of motor vehicle accidents may be able to receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damages and other losses. A personal injury lawyer could assess a victim's case and recommend the appropriate legal remedy.