Road Safety Overseas - 2/12/2010 |
The majority of these deaths, approximately 85 percent, occur in low to middle-income countries. It is estimated that more than 300 U.S. citizens die each year due to road accidents abroad and thousands more are injured. The majority of road crash victims (injuries and fatalities) in developing countries are not the motor vehicle occupants, but pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists and non-motor vehicle (NMV) occupants.
U.S. citizens are urged to carefully review the Road Safety section of the Department of State's Country Specific Information, which is available for every country in the world. The Road Safety section is intended to provide U.S. citizens with an overview of road conditions in a particular country. Travelers may also want to review the Department of State’s Background Notes for any country in which they intend to drive or travel by road as a passenger. Check the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate in the countries where you will visit to learn about local requirements for driver's licenses, road permits, and auto insurance. It is important to understand the rules and laws of the road in other countries, as they can differ significantly from those in the United States. These can be as simple as whether you can turn right on a red light, to whether you are allowed to use a cell phone in the car. They may also be more serious. Many countries have “no tolerance” policies concerning driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol; criminal penalties can be severe. International road safety continues to be a matter of growing concern to governments, international organizations, non-government organizations, and private citizens.
The first United Nations Global Road Safety Week was held April 23 – 29, 2007 with the goal of raising awareness about the impact of road traffic issues. Member nations organized and hosted hundreds of public awareness activities around the world to underscore the preventable nature of road traffic crashes and to educate the public on the impact road crashes have on global health. The U.S. Government is continually working with its bilateral and multilateral partners, governments, industry groups, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) worldwide to raise awareness about global road safety.
In 2009, the United Nations is planning to hold its first-ever high-level global summit on Road Safety, to be held in the Russian Federation.
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