Bad roads killing more people than poor health: Study

New York: Whenever you read about news related to traffic accidents and deaths on Indian roads, realise that bad roads put more people at risk in some countries than three leading causes of death worldwide - cancer, heart disease and stroke.

While global death rates per 100,000 population are higher from chronic health-related causes than from traffic accidents, the latter does claim more victims in some countries - especially in developing nations.

Namibia and Chad are among the African nations that have the highest traffic fatality rates per 100,000 population, reveal researchers at University of Michigan's transportation research institute.

Using data from the World Health Organisation (WHO), researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle compared fatality from road crashes with mortality from cancer, heart disease and stroke.

They realised that several countries in Africa and Middle East fare worse when it comes to traffic fatality rates.

When it comes to the greatest number of deaths from road crashes as a percentage of fatalities from all causes of death, several countries in the Middle East are at the top.

“The United Arab Emirates (16 percent) and Qatar (14 percent) are by far the worst, leading a total of 12 nations from that part of the world among the top 20 countries,” explained Sivak.

The results indicate that road safety is a greatly under-appreciated component of public health in many parts of the world, added Schoettle.

Another 10 of the top 25 nations with the worst road crash death rates are evenly split among the Middle East and Latin America.

By comparison, the US and Canada are both below 2 percent and several European nations are under 1 percent in terms of road deaths.

Overall, traffic deaths account for about 2 percent of all fatalities from all causes worldwide, noted the study.