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WHO South East Asia countries pledge to increase road safety

In a meeting, the members agreed to ‘Phuket Commitment’ that calls for prioritisation, high-level commitment, implementation of proper regulations and united effort from all stakeholders.

WHO South East Asia regional director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said: “Countries across the region need to drive and fast-track road safety initiatives with the highest political commitment to effectively address road traffic injuries which continues to be a leading cause of death in the age group of 15 to 29 years, mostly motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users.”

The WHO South East Asia Region accounts for more than a quarter of the global road accident deaths.

In 2013, nearly 316,000 people were killed in road crashes within the region, of which more than 50% fatalities were vulnerable road users (VRU) comprising motorcyclists, pedestrians and other two and three-wheeler riders.

Two-wheelers and three-wheelers form the most predominant transport alternative in this region.

Furthermore, the electricity powered bikes do not require registration in many countries leading to its rapid expansion.

The vehicles are silent and fast and pose significant road safety risks.

Singh commented that with VRUs expected to grow further, all the countries are required to focus on the group in order to reduce the road crash incidents.

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