Spain study shows how reducing road accidents saves money and lives

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High mountain road with danger signs at Catalonia

Road safety policies implemented in Catalonia, Spain, have helped save both lives and money, according to a study published this month in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The study looked at measures aimed at reducing road traffic deaths by half during the period from 2000 to 2010, including increased police surveillance, fines and improved road infrastructure.

The result was a decrease in traffic collisions by more than 26,000 and a nearly 60 per cent drop in deaths. The estimated total cost in savings was approximately 18 million Euros.

Dr. Anna Garcia-Altés, one of the authors of the study, believes other parts of the world can learn from this experience.

"Traffic accidents are a very, very important cause of death in many countries, unfortunately. So as we did in this analysis, translating the problem into money is a way of being more aware of it. So of course in other countries you can learn from it, adopting all these different policies, and continue putting this problem in the policy agenda; being conscious of it."

Dr. Garcia- Altés says it is now "normal" for people in Catalonia to be more careful while driving.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’17″

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