Adnan Ali

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Adnan Ali is a Search Optimization, Search Marketing and Social Media Strategy professional from Lahore, Pakistan. 

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Hidden Epidemic: Make Roads Safe

There is an epidemic of colossal magnitude effecting us day and night and yet, not many people are aware of it. Annually, about 1.2 million people die in road accidents. There are 15-20 million disabilities due to road related accidents.

This is not a statistic which deals with other countries, and we have no such problems. Infact 80% of all road crash deaths occur in the developing countries like ours. Road crashes are now the number 1 killer of young people between the age 10 and 24.

Road accidents are not just mere statistics. They are on most part human errors, which can be avoided given proper governmental policies and individual attention. What is the impact of a road accident? The number of deaths are not only a huge human tragedy but also an immense social and economic burdon on these countries.

Cost of the Epidemic

40,000 deaths in the USA cost 300 million dollars. What is the cost of one million deaths? Researchers have put economic values to the losses and the cost is between 1-5% of GDP. Now thats billions of dollars in value.

Another impact is the loss of the bread earner in a family. Not many families in the developing countries have multiple bread winners. What happens when the lone earner is no longer able to do so due to disability or death? A research points out that 50% of all rural poor people in Bangladesh and Banglore reached a point where they had a death or disability of the bread earner. The result is simple. Poor after the accident, not poor before it.

Champion the Cause

It is now required that polticians and indivduals in position to raise the concern take action and champion the cause. More than any thing, it needs to be realized that the major factors, drunk driving (not prevalent in Pakistan), not wearing seat belts, not wearing helmets, not acknowledging or lacking knowledge of road rules can be fixed without spending too much money. These developing countries can cater to this problems withing their current economic conditions.

International Attention

International community is now taking notice. In 2004, the UN established a Road Safety Collaboration which provided a report with help from WHO. The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and United Kingdom has established the FIA Foundation for Automobile and Society. This charity has started a 'Make Roads Safe' campaign whose goal is to put international road injuries on the G8 and UN agenda.

A Pakistani Issue

This is as much a Pakistani issue as any other. Many Pakistanis do not believe on wearing seat belts with in the city limits. Many more do no wear belts on any road where Highway Police does not have any influence. The more dangerous act we do is to place toddlers on the front seat without any car seats or restraining devices. The number of toddler deaths, or road related deaths are not known in Pakistan. But we can assume that toddler deaths due to this irresponsible behavior must be very high.


We can sadly foresee many many young people dying on the roads of the world if this epidemic is not dealt with. Charity starts from home they say, and I agree. Please start wearing seat belts or helmets, make sure your young ones sit on the back seat which reduces accident related deaths by 70-80%. Make it a family event to discuss road conditions and laws. Please put forward the right foot and join the 'Make Roads Safe' campaign by educating yourself, your family, relatives and neighbors.

FIA Foundation
Make Roads Safe
A hidden epidemic: Road Traffic Injuries in Developing Countries

Do not agree with my opinions? Let me know. Leave a comment and I will reply right back.

1 comment:

Assistive technology said...

If people took the roads slower and paid more attention it would make a big difference. I think it's just human nature to want to go as fast as possible.

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