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Message from Dr Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative In China

2007-04-19 10:36

ROAD SAFETY WEEK - 23 - 29 APRIL 2007

BEIJING, April 19 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- The first United Nations Global Road Safety Week is an important reminder that traffic injuries are no accident and that much can be done to prevent the damage occurring on roads.

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Traffic injuries are a major cause of death in China, where there is an explosion in the use of vehicles. There are around 34 million cars on the road, growing each year by 12 per cent.

Official statistics report more than 100,000 deaths and 500,000 injuries on China's roads each year, with roughly one death every five minutes.

The burden of injury falls disproportionately on the young. Lack of awareness and experience means that young people are more likely to engage in dangerous behaviour such as speeding, driving without a seatbelt or a helmet, and drink driving.

Road safety measures such as using seatbelts and helmets save lives.

The Chinese Government recognizes the importance of road safety and there is growing political will for more strategies to prevent injury on China's roads.

As well as many activities as part of Global Road Safety Week, China will host a National Conference on Road Traffic Injuries later this year. A national report and national action plan for injury prevention in China that includes traffic injuries are also near completion.

China's next challenge is to introduce national road safety measures and enforce them so they are effective. China needs to enforce penalties for people who speed, break road rules, drink-drive or drive without seatbelts.

China is committed to preventing road injury and should be congratulating for embracing Global Road Safety week to promote life-saving measures.

More information on China's Road Safety Week activities is available at http://www.who.int/roadsafety/week/activities/national/chn/en/index.html .

Source: World Health Organization
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