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Continent-wide changes in Africa needed to curb road traffic deaths

Experts worry that the rate of deaths caused by automobile accidents in Africa could rise exponentially with the growing populations unless something is done to change it, IRIN reports.

"Africa has the worst road safety record in the world, despite the fact that it has fewer cars than other regions," Robert Lisinge, an expert in transportation at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), told the publication.

According to a World Health Organization report, only between 10 and 20 people per 1,000 in Africa own a vehicle, yet more than 322,000 people die annually in Africa because of road traffic accidents.

Increasing populations in most African countries will only make the problem worse with time, unless a continent-wide effort is made to curb the unnecessary deaths.

"[There is a] need to awaken people's consciousness, to stop this silent war often forgotten by society but one of the biggest wars, one that has claimed 10 million lives [worldwide] over the last decade," Sandra Vitale, a road traffic accident prevention campaigner, who lost a son to a vehicle accident in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, told the source.

The Accra Declaration - which declared that African nations would work to halve road deaths by 2015 - was signed in 2007. However, many residents and humanitarians feel nothing has been done in terms of planning or setting goals to see any real change in driving fatalities.
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