WASHINGTON, DC–A new World Bank study, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, finds that reducing road traffic deaths and injuries could result in substantial long-term income gains for low- and middle-income countries. The report, “The High Toll of Traffic Injuries: Unacceptable and Preventable,” introduces a new global methodology to calculate the economic impact of road safety and analyses the cases of China, India, the Philippines, Tanzania and Thailand.
While there is general recognition of road traffic injuries and fatalities, little is known about the link between road traffic injuries and economic growth. The new report quantifies how investments in road safety are also an investment in human capital.
The study finds that countries that do not invest in road safety could miss out on anywhere between 7 and 22% in potential per capita GDP growth over a 24-year period. This requires policymakers to prioritize proven investments in road safety. The cost of inaction is more than 1.25 million deaths a year globally, diminished productivity and reduced growth prospects.
Traffic Fatalities Strike Prime Working Age Adults in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs)
Road traffic fatalities disproportionately affect low- and middle-income countries, where 90% of global road deaths occur. Rising incomes in many developing countries have led to rapid motorization, while road safety management and regulations have not kept pace.
Death rates from road traffic injuries are high in LMICs – in 2015, reaching 34 per 100,000 in the countries studied. By contrast, the average across the 35 countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in the same year was 8 deaths per 100,000.
The greatest share of mortality and long-term disability from road traffic crashes happen amongst the working-age population (between 15 and 64 years old).
Reducing Road Traffic Deaths and Injuries Can Boost Income Growth
According to the report, deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes affect medium- and long-term growth prospects by removing prime age adults from the work force, and reducing productivity due to the burden of injuries.
Using detailed data on deaths and economic indicators from 135 countries, the study estimates that, on average, a 10% reduction in road traffic deaths raises per capita real GDP by 3.6% over a 24-year horizon.
Read the complete story at The World Bank
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