Photo: Car Accidents in Latin America
The Inter-American Development Bank today participated in launching the first Decade of Action for Road Safety that the World Health Organization is carrying out with the objective of saving 350,000 lives in Latin America and the Caribbean between 2011 and 2020. The initiative seeks to prevent deaths and injuries from traffic accidents, which claim millions of lives worldwide, mainly of young people aged 15 to 29.
The economic cost of these road accidents and injuries is estimated at between 1 percent and 3 percent of the countries’ gross domestic product. These costs include health insurance, pensions, logistics, and lost productivity, among others.
The IDB announced that it will work with a variety of stakeholders to mobilize resources and carry out measures required to cut numbers of deaths from accidents in the region by 50 percent. According to the Global Road Safety Facility, the 130,000 deaths projected for 2020 would be reduced to 65,000; as such, 350,000 lives would be saved over the 10-year period.
The Bank is working closely with governments to design and implement plans and strategies for road safety. It is also participating with other multilateral development banks to join forces and mobilize resources and establishing partnerships with private entities.
Katzman and Cecilia Ramos, IDB Executive Director for Mexico, are participating in road safety events taking place in Mexico City under the auspices of the Minister of Health and Transport. Mexico is hosting the launch of the Decade of Action in Latin America. Similar events are taking place simultaneously in different parts of the world.”
The IDB is promoting a more comprehensive and multisectoral approach for addressing road safety problems in the region through links among the transport, health, education, and finance sectors,” said Ramos during the launch event.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, traffic accidents claimed the lives of 100,000 people in 2010. If no action is taken, the region will have the highest rate traffic fatalities by 2020―17 to 31 deaths per 100,000 population, which is nearly four times the rate in developed countries.
Unlike in most developed countries, about half of the people in Latin America who die in road accidents are not the drivers, but rather pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, who are usually known as vulnerable users.