A new study released Monday shows that Canada has the worst rates of traffic fatalities in the developed world, which may be attributed in part to a lack of dedicated public transit.
The study, titled “Traffic and Health in the Developing World,” finds that the country has the highest rate of traffic-related deaths in the 21 developed countries tracked by the WHO, and the lowest rate of deaths in developing nations such as Russia and Bangladesh.
The WHO recommends that every developed nation, in terms of public transit and infrastructure, build a “transit system capable of managing traffic flows and reducing accidents, with priority being given to cities and towns.”
It says it is important for developing countries to create the infrastructure needed to sustain high levels of transport, as it will ensure they will continue to have a transportation system that works for them.
“With the world’s population expected to reach nearly nine billion by 2050, it is imperative that all developing countries develop sustainable transport networks to reduce their environmental impacts and to make a significant contribution to global climate change mitigation efforts,” the report says.
It also notes that “the health and economic impact of traffic injuries, deaths, and other public health impacts is well established.”
“These health and social impacts have been documented to be a significant contributor to health and socioeconomic outcomes in developing countries.”
In its report, the WHO noted that in countries like Canada, the average life expectancy is slightly higher than in developing markets such as the United States.
And while traffic fatalities are on the decline in Canada, traffic fatalities still cause about $4 billion in direct health care costs each year in the country, the report said.
The report said the rate of road traffic-induced injuries in Canada was about double that in the United Kingdom, where it has been about 3 percent higher than the United Nations World Health Organisation benchmark.
The average life-expectancy for Canadian drivers is 65.5 years, according to the WHO.
But, the study said, in the province of Ontario, the life expectancy for drivers is lower at 69.5.
Canada is one of the fastest-growing economies in the industrialized world, and is one the fastest growing countries in the developing world.