A new study warns that a UN initiative to cut global road deaths in half by 2020 is on course to fail amid “clearly insufficient” efforts, with middle- and lower-income countries such as Cambodia at the forefront of the battle.
According to the Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015, published this week by the WHO, poor implementation and enforcement of traffic laws is driving the yearly death toll – which stands at 1.25 million people worldwide.
Cambodia scores no higher than five out of 10 on the enforcement of five key infringements highlighted, including speeding, drink driving and not wearing a motorcycle helmet.
“Road traffic injuries are currently estimated to be the ninth leading cause of death across all age groups globally, and are predicted to become the seventh leading cause of death by 2030,” the report states.
This month, Cambodia’s National Road Safety Committee (NRSC) pledged to slash road deaths in half within five years, setting up two new sub-commissions to help reach the goal.
But in a report released days earlier, the same body warned the goal was severely off target, with more than 2,200 deaths in 2014, representing a 15 per cent bump from the previous year.
According to statistics compiled by the WHO, only Vietnam registered a decrease in traffic deaths per 100,000 people in the years between 2004 and 2013 among the five Mekong Delta Sub-region nations.
During that period, the rates in both Cambodia and Laos grew to exceed Vietnam’s. Thailand, meanwhile, has the second-worst death rate in the world, behind Iran.