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Traffic accidents: a globally leading cause of death

Drivers in Nevada should know that the World Health Organization has ranked traffic accidents eighth among the world's leading causes of death. The situation is especially bad in low-income countries where 13 percent of all fatal traffic crashes occur. Africa and Southeast Asia see the highest death rates. More than half of all traffic fatalities are pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists.

Of the 175 countries in the WHO 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety, 123 have road safety laws that meet best practice recommendations for at least one of five behavioral risk factors: speeding, drunk driving, failing to wear a seat belt, not wearing a motorcycle helmet or not using child restraints.

Though 169 countries have national speeding laws, only 46 meet the recommendations. The number of countries with drunk driving laws has increased tenfold from 2014, but only 136 have blood alcohol concentration thresholds. The study could not go in-depth into the laws regarding drugged and distracted driving.

Another area requiring improvement is road infrastructure. Only 92 countries have standards for separating motor vehicles from cyclists and pedestrians, and 43 have no design standards for crossings.

Of the eight vehicle safety standards recommended by the UN for implementation, including impact protection and electronic stability control, 124 countries apply only one or none of them. In many countries, poor emergency care contributes to death rates.

Even when car accidents are not fatal, they can lead to serious injuries and vehicle damage. Those whose degree of fault does not exceed that of the other driver may file a personal injury claim in their effort to be compensated, but since the auto insurance company will likely be aggressive in denying payment, victims may want a lawyer by their side. If a fair settlement cannot be negotiated, the victim might consider going to court.

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