WHO report urges governments to takle speeding problem

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Managing Speed, a new report from the WHO, highlights the fact that around 1.25 million people die every year on the world's roads, and says that excessive or inappropriate speed contributes to one in three road traffic fatalities.

This is an issue that affects young drivers in particular. Separate research from UK road safety charity Brake shows that young drivers are more likely to take risks, including speeding, overtaking blind, and not wearing seat belts.

One reason for this may be that the frontal lobe, the part of the brain that helps control impulses and emotions and assesses risk, is not fully developed until your mid-20s, the charity explains.

"Speed is at the core of the global road traffic injury problem," said WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. "If countries were to address just this key risk, they would soon reap the rewards of safer roads, both in terms of lives saved and increases in walking and cycling, with profound and lasting effects on health."

There are various measures that governments and local authorities can take to address speeding. The report recommends:

• Building or modifying roads to include features that calm traffic, such as roundabouts and speed bumps;

• Establishing speed limits appropriate to the function of each road;

• Enforcing speed limits through the use of manual and automated controls;

• Installing in-vehicle technologies in new cars, such as intelligent speed assistance and autonomous emergency braking; and

• Raising awareness about the dangers of speed.

The good news is that the UK was cited as one of the countries that has had the most success in reducing rates of road traffic death and injury in recent decades. But there is always more that can be done.

What speed management measures do you think are most effective?







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