The Malta Independent 20 May 2024, Monday
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Every traffic ‘accident’ can be prevented, Doctors for Road Safety say

Saturday, 14 November 2020, 10:45 Last update: about 5 years ago

The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims’ endorsed by the UN General Assembly and the World Health Organisation, takes place on the third Sunday in November and is the appropriate international reminder and acknowledgment of the unimaginable and preventable suffering of victims of road traffic crashes and their families, Doctors for Road Safety said.

The term ‘crashes’ is used intentionally instead of ‘accidents’ because the latter term may imply that there is little, if any, that can be done to prevent the suffering of road traffic fatalities and injuries and that ‘accidents will always happen’, Doctors for Road Safety said.

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“Nothing could be further from the truth. Each and every ‘accident’ has a definite and preventable cause or number of causes. And yes, we can, and should, investigate and examine in detail each and every factor involved in road traffic crashes”, they said.

The statement comes on the same day that police announced another traffic fatality – 19-year-old Alan Galea – who was killed in a traffic crash in Mgarr.

Such a critical undertaking is the only shared response which enables and ‘drives’ those changes in public policies, infrastructure and vehicle manufacture which will reduce and eventually put an end to the road risks that all members of society expose themselves to, whether as drivers of vehicles, passengers, pedestrians or cyclists.

Quoting the National Statistics Office, the NGO said that the latest numbers of road traffic casualties in Malta show that in the three months from April to June 2020, there were 6 fatalities, 85 persons who were injured grievously and 308 persons with slight injuries.

“As doctors, we are deeply aware of the tragic consequences and human cost of road traffic casualties, the majority of which involve persons in the 26 to 40 age-bracket. The financial and economic consequences are estimated at about 2% of EU countries’ gross domestic product although such estimates do not take into account the cost of long-term disability and the many intangible costs to the patient and family”, they said.

They said that they are working as first responders and provide medical care, but also have a critical role as researchers, educators and advocates for public policies that are effective in reducing and eliminating road traffic casualties.

“These objectives can only be achieved by the active and efficient contribution of other institutions including the Police Force, the Judiciary, Transport Malta, various Ministries and other Government entities, NGOs and essentially all members of society who ultimately pay the unbearable price of human tragedy for inaction and laissez-faire.”

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