日期:2011-05-23 10:57


Global road safety全球道路安全

Fighting road kill 向道路杀手宣战

The WHO has a plan to make the world’s roads less lethal

May 12th 2011 | NEW YORK | from the print edition | International

SOME mortal threats grab all the attention. Malnutrition, HIV/AIDS and cancer win over rock stars to the cause and provoke grown-ups to wear plastic bracelets. At the other end of the spectrum, past meningitis and diarrheal disease, lies road safety—which has been largely neglected on the global stage. But not for a lack of urgency. Globally, road accidents were the ninth leading cause of death in 2004. By 2030 they could be the fifth, above HIV/AIDS and lung cancer.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) is now trying to make roads less deadly. On May 11th it launched a “decade of road safety”, with a plan to save 5m lives and prevent 50m serious injuries by 2020. Officials from Vietnam to Mexico declared themselves determined to prevent traffic deaths. A new road-safety “tag” even graced landmarks in New York, London and Rio de Janeiro.


Yet changing habits on the road will not be easy. Many Europeans like driving fast. In India lanes exist in theory only; motorists make suicidal attempts to overtake and appear to believe their horns confer protection. A survey of 178 countries by the WHO, published in 2009, provides a glimpse of the problem—particularly in the developing world. Poor and middle-income countries account for more than 90% of road deaths, but just 48% of the world’s registered vehicles. As economies have surged, so has car use. Road rules and other safety measures have yet to catch up.


Many countries lack basic safety rules that could, the WHO argues, reduce the number of accidents. Easy steps, such as requiring the use of seat belts and setting sensible speed limits, can dramatically reduce the risk of traffic-death. Yet only 38% of poor countries ask both front- and back-seat passengers to wear seat belts. Less than one-third of countries meet simple criteria for reducing speed on city roads.


Even when rules do exist, they are seldom enforced. A country may ban drink-driving, for example, but have no breathalysers. Safety features common in the rich world, such as car seats for infants, are rarities elsewhere. And roads in poor countries are often a danger to pedestrians and cyclists: they account for fewer than 25% of road-deaths in America, but the figure in Thailand is over 80%.


The WHO’s plan includes guidelines for improving emergency services, designing roads and enforcing safety rules. These changes could cost $200m each year for the next decade. A $125m gift in 2009 from Michael Bloomberg, New York’s billionaire mayor, will help. But more is needed. The WHO thinks road crashes cost most countries between 1% and 3% of GNP. Traffic safety might not be the most thrilling investment. But it is a sound one.

世卫组织的计划包括了提高紧急服务,道路设计和执行道路规则的指导纲要。实现这些改变要在未来的十年里每年耗费2亿美元。2009年,来自纽约亿万富翁的市长迈克尔??彭博(Michael Bloomberg)先生为此提供了1.25美元的帮助。不过这还不够。世卫组织认为,在大多数国家,道路交通事故的造成的损失占到国民生产总值的1% 到 3%。交通安全或许并不是最让人兴奋的投资。不过它却是一个合理的投资。

  • sensibleadj. 可察觉的,意识到的,实用的 n. 可感知物
  • malnutritionn. 营养不良
  • plasticadj. 塑料的,可塑的,造型的,整形的,易受影响的 n
  • determinedadj. 坚毅的,下定决心的
  • confervi. 商讨 vt. 赠予,授予
  • globaladj. 全球性的,全世界的,球状的,全局的
  • overtakev. 赶上,突然来袭,压倒
  • preventv. 预防,防止
  • lethaladj. 致命的,毁灭性的,有效的 n. 基因异常,致死
  • protectionn. 保护,防卫