Road accidents are a common global epidemic that causes an annual death toll of about 1.25 million people. Statistics from the World Health Organization show that an additional 50 million are injured or physically disabled as a result of road accidents. In the bid to control the high prevalence rates of accidents, countries across the globe have enacted and enforced different road safety regulations targeting controlling the occurrence of road accidents.
The major road safety regulations that are unanimously agreed upon touch on five major areas, including regulation of driving speeds, enforcement of sobriety when driving, enforcement of seat belt regulations, the use of protective equipment, and observation of road signage. All drivers and other road users, including pedestrians and children, are expected to adhere to these regulations. Statistics show that over 90% of all global road accidents are caused by ignorance on any of the five major areas as far as road usage is concerned.
Control of driving speeds
The management of driving speed is a major point of emphasis in many countries. In the bid to control causation of road accidents, each country has a universally agreed speed limit enforced in major highways and city driveways. The speed limits are imposed based on several factors, including the projected traffic condition in a highway, the condition of the road, and the prospected volume of pedestrian traffic, among others.
All major highways and roads are normally marked with road signs warning drivers not to exceed a certain limit. The enforcement of this regulation is further enhanced by the presence of traffic officers and speed limit cameras to ensure drivers who are ignorant of the regulations are brought to justice. Speed limits are further controlled by the presence of speed bumps on strategic points of the road where drivers are prone to exceeding the imposed speed limit.
Enforcement of sobriety when driving
When driving, sobriety is a crucial element in helping enforce road safety. Drunk driving is a serious cause of road accidents since drunk drivers are critically impaired visually and mentally. As a universal regulation enforced across the globe, drunk driving is a serious crime that is punishable with imprisonment and termination of driving permits. Drivers are highly encouraged not to take alcohol before driving. Different countries have different maximum legal limitations on the quantity of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) for drivers. The United States, China, and Canada are some of the countries with the highest legal Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.8 mg/ml. On the other hand, Russia, Romania, and Brazil have zero tolerance for drunk driving.
Mental alertness is highly necessary for helping ensure that drivers make the necessary decisions while on the road. Other forms of mental impairments that are restricted globally include instances of drivers’ exposure to fatigue. Whereas there is no legal restriction in the assessment of fatigue, drivers are universally called upon to drive for not more than 6 to 8 hours in a day. Taking sufficient rest and sleep helps ensure that they are mentally alert and can thus make crucial decisions on the road.
Use of safety and protective equipment
Safety and protective equipment come as a secondary measure that ensures that drivers and passengers are well protected against possible injuries and death during accidents. Among the important safety and protective equipment that are universally agreed-upon is the use of safety belts in vehicles. Vehicle manufacturers are required to observe minimum safety standards as far as capabilities of safety belts is concerned.
Car dealers, on the other hand, are expected to evaluate the vehicles they deal in to ensure they have well installed and maintain safety belts. In this article from PreszlerLawBC.com, Dairn Shane explains that it is illegal to drive or sell a car that does not have two working seatbelts in the front. In virtually all countries, the enforcement of the use of safety belts is a minimum requirement. Other necessary protective equipment includes the use of helmets for motorcyclists and their pillions to prevent severe injuries during accidents.
Observation of road signs
Road signs are crucial entities in helping to appropriately inform and warn drivers and other road users on pertinent road safety information. There exists a globally agreed upon road signage classified into three categories, including danger warning signs, road usage regulatory signs, and informative signs that all drivers should be well informed on. The mutual recognition of these signs and their universal enforcement across the globe makes it easy to observe minimum safety standards as far as the responsible and safe use of roads is concerned.
When it comes to road safety, the world is united towards upholding and enforcing uniform safety regulations. Whereas countries may exhibit some slight differences in road usage and regulations, basic road safety signs are considered universal. Observation of these regulations has proven effective as far as the realization of the reduction of road accidents and incidents is concerned.