WHO: 270,000 pedestrians die each year on the world's roads

May 14, 2013 at 2:00 AM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, May 14 (UPI) -- More than 270,000 pedestrians die each year on the world's roads -- accounting for 22 percent of the 1.3 million traffic deaths, officials in Switzerland says.

World Health Organization officials in Geneva are calling on governments to take concrete actions to improve the safety of pedestrians.

Under the banner "Make Walking Safe," nearly 70 countries, are taking measures to contribute to achieving the goal of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-20 to save 5 million lives.

Pedestrian Safety: A Road Safety Manual for Decision-Makers and Practitioners, produced by WHO and partners, promotes a focus on combined enforcement, engineering and education measures, which include:

-- Adopting and enforcing new and existing laws to reduce speeding, curb drinking and driving, decrease mobile phone use and other forms of distracted driving.

-- Putting in place infrastructure which separates pedestrians from other traffic such as sidewalks, raised crosswalks, overpasses, underpasses, refuge islands and raised medians; lower vehicle speeds and improves roadway lighting.

-- Creating pedestrian zones in city centers by restricting vehicular access.

-- Improving mass transit route design.

Pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users. Studies indicate that males, both children and adults, make up a high proportion of pedestrian deaths and injuries, WHO said.

In developed countries, older pedestrians are more at risk, while in low-income and middle-income countries, children and young adults are often affected, officials said.

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