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WHO report finds flaws in global road safety laws

Traffic crashes are not just a problem in Missouri. In fact, they are the eighth leading reason for death in the whole world, according to the World Health Organization. They are also globally the leading cause of death among people 5 to 29 years old. The 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety, released in December by WHO, analyzed the road safety laws of 175 countries and found many of them wanting.

Traffic-related death rates are especially high in low-income countries, where people run triple the risk for a fatal traffic crash compared to those in high-income countries. Africa, with 26.6 deaths per 100,000 people, and Southeast Asia, with 20.7 deaths, see the highest numbers.

Of the participating 175 countries, 123 have laws that meet the best practice recommendations for at least one of five behavioral risk factors: speeding, drunk driving and failure to wear a seatbelt, wear a motorcycle helmet and use child restraints. Since 2014, there are 10 times the number of countries with drunk driving laws that meet the recommendations.

Of the 161 countries with national seatbelt laws, 105 met the recommendations. As for helmet laws, enforcement is generally weak. For lack of available evidence, WHO could not delve deeply into drugged and distracted driving. Other issues contributing to traffic death rates are poor roads and a lack of safe crossings.

At the bottom of most car accidents, though, is simple human negligence. The victim of a negligent driver may be eligible for damages, so they are advised to get legal advice. A lawyer could hire third parties to gather proof against the defendant and show how all the reported injuries are accident related. The lawyer could negotiate on victims' behalf for a settlement, litigating if the auto insurance company refuses to pay or offers an unreasonably low amount.

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