WHO issues global guidelines to increase helmet wear and reduce pedestrian fatalities from accidents

To assist stop the global pandemic of road traffic fatalities and injuries, the World Health Organization has developed two recommendations for policymakers on the usage of helmets and pedestrian safety. The recommendations on the usage of helmets for drivers of powered two- and three-wheelers and on pedestrian safety were co-written by specialists from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and contain new data and case studies.

Top World Health Organization (WHO) officials claim that road traffic accidents kill more than 1.3 million people annually, or more than two people every minute, with nine out of ten of these fatalities taking place in low income and middle income nations.

According to WHO statistics, road traffic accidents are the greatest cause of mortality for children and young people worldwide between the ages of 5 and 29.

According to Dr. Nhan Tran, WHO's Head of Safety and Mobility, "These new guidelines are essential tools to assist policymakers develop the safe mobility systems we need to cut deaths from collisions in half by 2030."

Motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, and e-bikes continue to proliferate quickly, and the use of life-saving helmets is a must. Rooted in successful actions and evidence, these manuals outline what helps to save lives, according to Tran. Pedestrians, particularly in developing countries, are often left dangerously exposed, she added.

The expert in traffic safety said that while the usage of high-quality helmets frequently lags behind, motorized two- and three-wheeled vehicles are being used more and more frequently in many developing nations.

Powered two- and three-wheelers are involved in over 30% of all crashes that result in fatalities, accounting for 43% of all traffic-related deaths in the WHO South East Asian Region.

When worn properly, full-face covering helmets can prevent fatal injuries by up to 64% and brain damage by up to 74%.

Experts from IIT Delhi claim that pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users in the world. Between 2013 and 2016, they claimed, the number of pedestrian deaths increased at a pace that was nearly double that of all other traffic fatalities.

Despite this, it appears that many developing nations severely underreport pedestrian mortality.

According to Geetam Tiwari, a professor at IIT Delhi, "Pedestrian deaths account for roughly 30% of all deaths from road traffic collisions in India. In certain big Indian towns, the proportion of pedestrians killed is up to 60% of all road traffic deaths."

"Improving the road environment, enforcing the law more strictly, and taking steps to inform drivers and influence their behavior may considerably increase pedestrian safety," she continued.

The guidelines were unveiled at the Dinesh Mohan Memorial Symposium, an international gathering put on by the Transportation Research Injury Prevention Centre of the Indian Institute of Technology with funding from the Volvo Research Education Foundation. The symposium's goal was to make progress in lowering accidental and traffic related injuries, particularly in low income and middle income nations.

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