MANILA, PHILIPPINES - A majority of the world's fatal traffic accidents occur in the Asia-Pacific region and concerted regional and country responses are needed to address the issue, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-President Ursula Schaefer-Preuss said today.
Speaking ahead of the first Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety - taking place 19-20 November in Moscow, Russia - Ms. Schaefer-Preuss cited recent World Health Organization (WHO) data showing that the Asia-Pacific region accounts for about 60% of global road deaths, despite having only 16% of the world's vehicles.
"Asia's accident rates are among the world's highest, and with vehicle fleets in many countries expected to double every five to seven years, these numbers will continue to grow unless immediate action is taken," Ms. Schaefer-Preuss said.
The ADB is one of seven multilateral development banks (MDBs) that recently signed a joint statement which predicts "an anticipated and alarming rise in the number of road fatalities and casualties in developing countries."
The MDB grouping - comprised of African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and the World Bank - outlines a broad range of measures to combat the road safety problem.
The measures fall into four categories: Strengthening road safety management capacity; implementing safety approaches in the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of road infrastructure projects; improving safety performance measures; and mobilizing more and new resources for road safety.
"Reducing road fatalities and injuries in low and middle-income countries over the coming decade would save an estimated five million lives and avoid 50 million serious injuries," the MDBs said in a statement.