Fascinating piece in the Economist of Jan 25 on road accidents. At present, they kill about 1.3 million people a year – not far short of the number who lose their lives to tuberculosis, but the World Health Organisation expects the total to reach nearly 2 million by 2030, well outstripping tb deaths and catching up with AIDS as a killer.
The biggest increase is expected in the poorest countries, with deaths almost tripling. One of the main reasons being that when money is invested in new roads, little is spent on safety.
Already, road crashes are the main cause of death worldwide for people aged 15 to 29, with most victims men and boys. In poor countries, most of the people killed are pedestrians, while in developing countries such as Thailand, it tends to be motorcyclists.
In the developed world, better safety measures have seen road deaths actually being reduced. New York now has fewer than it did 1910, while Sweden has halved the number since 2000, cutting them by 80% since 1970.
*My updated website - http://www.disasterhistorian.com/index.html