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Traffic accidents kill 1.27 million people every year around the world, but almost half of those accident victims are pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists -- not drivers or passengers in automobiles -- according to a new global road safety study from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The first global analysis of road safety looked at road crashes in 178 countries (98 percent of the world population) to gauge worldwide progress on the effectiveness of safety measures like speed limits, crosswalks, seatbelt and child restraint devices, motorcycle helmets, and anti-DUI efforts.
Here are some highlights of the WHO's Global Status Report on Road Safety:
In a News Release announcing the study's findings, WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said many countries have a long way to go when it comes to improving safety for everyone on the roads, and it's important to look beyond just automobile drivers and passengers:
The study was prompted in part by a recent car-buying boom in developing countries, where auto sales were up more than 10 percent annually before the current economic downturn, the Washington Post says: "The authors hope the report will help stimulate governments and engineers to design roads that can accommodate a huge influx of cars but also out-of-car users."