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Latino Daily News

Friday March 15, 2013

WHO: LatAm Making Progress on Highway Safety, but Problems Remain

WHO: LatAm Making Progress on Highway Safety, but Problems Remain

Photo: Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020

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Latin America is “making great efforts” to improve highway safety, but they are still “not sufficient,” World Health Organization Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention director Etienne Krug said Thursday.

“More can be done at the political level to improve the legislation in many areas. The condition is political will and this does not exist in all countries,” Krug said during the presentation of the “Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013: Supporting a Decade of Action.”

Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Argentina have made the most progress in the area of highway safety and are now on the global list of countries with the fewest victims of traffic accidents, Krug said.

Brazil’s so-called “Dry Law,” which prohibits all drinking and driving, has led to a significant drop in highway fatalities, the WHO official said.

“In 2010, there were 1.24 million deaths worldwide from road traffic crashes, roughly the same number as in 2007. The report shows that while 88 Member States were able to reduce the number of road traffic fatalities, that number increased in 87 countries,” the WHO said in a statement.

Just a small number of countries, however, have taken all the key steps to improve highway safety, the U.N. agency said.

“Only 28 countries, covering 7 percent of the world’s population, have comprehensive road safety laws on all five key risk factors: drinking and driving, speeding, and failing to use motorcycle helmets, seat-belts, and child restraints,” the WHO said.