Traffic deaths could become the world’s fifth-leading killer, surpassing AIDS, lung cancer, and tuberculosis by 2030 if trends continue, but New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has funded a plan to keep that from happening.
Vehicle crashes kill 1.2 million people worldwide each year and injure 50 million people across the globe each year — with most happening in developing countries, according to World Health Organization statistics.
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“That’s equivalent to the population of all the men and women and children in the city of Dallas, Texas,” Bloomberg said Wednesday at a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York. “Traffic fatalities, just like those from tobacco-related diseases, can be prevented. There are interventions that do work, such as the use of seatbelts and motorcycle helmets.”
Bloomberg’s foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, committed $125 million in November to help six organizations fund programs aimed at promoting traffic safety in developing countries such as Mexico and Cambodia over the next five years.
“The results so far have been very encouraging,” Bloomberg said.
These accomplishments include:
- Passing a law in Vietnam requiring children 6 and older to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle.
- Helping five cities in Brazil that will host the upcoming Olympics and World Cup develop bus-rapid transit systems to get thousands of drivers off the roads.
- Lobbying the Egyptian government to build a pedestrian bridge over a busy highway that had claimed the lives of many people who had attempted to cross it.
- Championing a strict drunken-driving law in Guadalajara, Mexico, that went into effect in June.
- Supporting a program in Cambodia that has Australian traffic police monitoring local Cambodian traffic police.
Former President Bill Clinton founded CGI in 2005 based on his belief that governments need collaboration from the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and other global leaders to confront world problems. CGI members have made nearly 1,700 commitments valued at $57 billion, improving the lives of more than 220 million people in 170 countries.
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