Traffic Crashes are the Number One Killer of the World’s Children

The lack of investment in unintentional injury primarily has been the thinking that they are inevitable, and that they are not as important as infectious diseases. – Ileana Arias, Centers for Disease Control

I heard this story on NPR this morning. The World Health Organization (WHO) released a study today called World report on child injury prevention. This report lists traffic crashes as the leading cause of unintentional injuries and death among our world’s children (ages 10-19) accounting for over 260,000 deaths and 10 million non-fatal injuries. The highest percentage of those deaths and injuries happen in poorer countries, but western countries are not off the hook. Forty percent of childhood deaths are a result of traffic crashes in wealthier countries.

One gentleman interviewed talked about traffic calming measures such as speed bumps, traffic circles, and better crosswalks as ways to improve the safety of our street infrastructure citing a statistic that a pedestrian getting hit by a car going over 35km/h (about 25mph) is much more likely to be killed. Speed reduction is key to making our streets safer, and the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County and PennDOT should make this a top priority.

The report also suggests creating “safer routes to school” and “separating types of road users” as ways to prevent these deaths and injuries.

Tell the City you want them to place bicycle and pedestrian safety even higher on their list of priorities. Simply call 3-1-1.

Click here to listen to the story on NPR

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