Road safety is the focus of this year’s World Health Day

Road safety is the focus of this year's World Health Day Public Safety Secretary Tom Dravland has announced that traffic safety is the focus of this year's World Health Day. World Health Day is proclaimed by the World Health Organization each year to draw attention to leading public health problems that cross national boundaries and threaten the safety and health of people worldwide.

"This is our chance to join individuals from around the world to prevent death and injury caused by motor vehicle crashes," said Dravland. "South Dakota is not immune to this tragedy."

In 2002, in South Dakota alone, 17,335 traffic crashes resulted in one traffic crash occurring every 30 minutes, an injury sustained nearly every hour and a death every 49 hours. Worldwide, 1.2 million people die each year from traffic-related injuries. Developing countries suffer the greatest loss. For example, in he United State alone, more than 40,000 people die in motor vehicle crashes each year.

"Each year accidents are among the top ten leading causes of death for South Dakotans, particularly among young people," said Doneen Hollingsworth, state secretary of health. "Traffic accidents are a significant public health problem that we can all take steps to reduce."

"We can choose to prevent motor vehicle traffic injuries," said Roy Meyer, Office of Highway Safety director. "We need to enhance our research, safety programs, enforcement, vehicles, roads and public awareness. We can all do our part by insuring everyone in our vehicle is buckled up, by securing young children in appropriate child safety seats, by not driving impaired, by following speed limits, and by obeying traffic laws," said Meyer.

The South Dakota Office of Highway Safety administers the Federal Highway Safety Grant Program, enabling local/state agencies and non-profit organizations to develop and implement traffic safety programs designed to reduce the number of traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities occurring on South Dakota roadways. The purpose of the highway safety effort is to minimize, as much as realistically possible, the economic and human loss that results from traffic crashes.

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