KUANTAN: Every 10 minutes, at least 23 road users lose their lives while another 1,000 people are seriously injured in road accidents worldwide.
The figures roughly translate to some 1.2 million road deaths and another 50 million people suffering injuries or are permanently disabled.
Most of the deaths occurred in developing countries, raising alarm bells that fatalities from road accidents would overtake AIDS as the leading cause of unnatural deaths by 2020.
This were among some of the startling statistics revealed during an International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) briefing to state agencies here recently.
Among those who attended were representatives from the police, Road Transport Department, Road Safety Department, Public Works Department and the state Road Safety Council.
The iRAP briefing was conducted by technical officer Paul Van Damme of the ARRB Group.
He said iRAP had been adopted in 30 countries worldwide with Malaysia being the first in Asia to adopt the programme.
“Presently, we are conducting pilot studies here, in South Africa, Costa Rica and Chile.
“Our survey is funded by Federation Internationale Automobile (FIA) and Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM).”
He said Malaysia was chosen at the request of AAM through its affiliation with FIA and the fact that the Malaysian Government was supportive of road safety measures, in addition to having a comprehensive set of data.
Road Safety Department assistant director Raymond Teoh said the survey would assess over 3,000km of roads in the Peninsular Malaysia.
He said so far, the survey team had covered more than half of the journey, mostly along federal and coastal roads.
“Our next stop will be Johor and Malacca before going back to our headquarters in Putrajaya.
“The information we collected through three surveillance cameras would be analysed before a rating is given to the roads.
“A rating of four stars means the road is very safe while one is the least,” he said in response to questions from the press.
Teoh said the results of the survey would be made public in July.