The first recorded traffic accident occurred in 1869 in Ireland and the victim was an amateur scientist named Mary Ward, who was traveling with a steam vehicle as a passenger. Since then and for more than a century there was an accelerated technological progress, which made our life easier, but we had to pay and we still pay for it a very heavy price every day in the streets…
The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims is held each year on the third Sunday of November (this year on November 16th). The aim of this day is to bring to mind and to honor the millions of dead and injured in road accidents, and also to pay tribute to the crews, ambulance, police and medical personnel who are confronted daily with the aftermath of traumatic deaths and injuries from traffic, with the ultimate aim of all our awareness on road safety issues.
Road traffic crashes kill 1.200.000 people every year and injure or disable as many as 50 million more (source: World Health Organization). It is the leading cause of death globally for children and young people aged between 10 to 29 years. Every six seconds someone is killed or injured on the world’s roads, while about 4.000 people are killed every day in road accidents. Inconceivable numbers that unfortunately represent unfairly and prematurely lost or crippled lives and shattered families 🙁
The even worst fact is that projections indicate that these figures will increase by about 65% over the next 20 years, unless there is new commitment to prevention by the states around the world.
Greece unfortunately holds the first place in Europe in deaths from road traffic crashes, despite the low reduction in victims compared to the recent past, which however is mostly attributed to the limitation of our transports rather than to a conscious shift in our driving behavior. Specifically, 130 people are killed per million in our country, when the European average is 69 people. For decades we live an undeclared war on asphalt, as from 1965 up to 2008 we had 130.000 (!!!) dead and 1,5 million wounded people, many of them with permanent disabilities…
The World Health Organization and the Association for Safe International Road Travel have jointly developed a book entitled “Faces behind the figures: voices of road traffic crash victims and their families”, to put a human face on the statistics presented in the many road safety reports published around the world.
The stories demonstrate the physical, psychological, emotional and economic devastation of the victims’ families that results from road traffic crashes. Despite the unspeakable pain of such a tragedy, a number of the affected victims and their families take initiatives in their own state, founding associations and institutions, in order to raise awareness on road safety.
A mother of an 18 years old victim from Brazil, says in this book: “We have to change the way we think about crashes – the majority of people think that crashes are due to fate. We have to think of a crash as a preventable event, that a death in a crash is a premature death”.
Of course, wishes and memorials are not enough to stop deaths on the roads. It is a debt towards ourselves and the people we love, to change our driving behavior, to observe the traffic regulations, to place above all the safety in our transportations, to share the road with courtesy and mainly to slow down and moreover to realize that we are not invulnerable (especially young people). We should always bear in mind that a moment of inattention, a mistake, a hasty move can change some lives forever. Is it worth to daily risk our life?
Drive responsibly, taking all necessary personal protective measures …it’s good for you!