Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Car manufacturers acting in the interest of profits rather than safety in poor countries

A study published today in the BMJ journal Injury Prevention calls for greater vigilance in ensuring that car manufacturers are fully committed to promoting road safety interventions that are based on sound evidence of effectiveness.

Every day, worldwide, around 30,000 people are seriously injured in road traffic crashes. Most of these are in low- and middle-income countries, and most are pedestrians and cyclists.

The World Bank believes that a partnership between business, non-governmental organisations and governments in these countries can deliver road safety improvements, and has established the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) for this purpose. The partnership includes the car manufacturers General Motors, Ford, Daimler Chrysler and Volvo, and the drinks multinationals Bacardi-Martini and United Distillers.

After the establishment of the GRSP, however, serious concerns were raised that car markers would be unlikely to promote safety initiatives (for example, better public transport or pedestrian only streets in cities) that were in conflict with their commercial interests. The researchers sought to determine whether this was happening by conducting word frequency analyses of road safety documents from the GRSP and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

They compared the summary report of the World report on road traffic injury prevention, prepared by WHO and the World Bank, with the combined annual reports (2003-2005) or the GRSP, and looked at the prevalence and nature of road safety terms within them using a technique called 'word frequency analysis'. The GRSP documents were found to be substantially less likely than the WHO World report to use the words speed, speed limits, pedestrian, public transport, walk, walking, cycling and cyclist, but substantially more likely to use the words school, campaign, driver, training and billboard.

In addition, whereas the WHO/World Bank document emphasises the importance of speed reduction, particularly to promote the safety of pedestrians, a recommendation that is based on strong evidence, the GRSP documents talk about driver training and safety education campaigns, both of which the available research evidence show to be ineffective in reducing road injuries.

'We do not doubt the depth of road safety expertise within the partnership. The concern we sough to address is whether the GRSP would be able to persuade its commercial partners, many of which are major manufacturers, to fund road safety initiatives that might be seen to conflict with their commercial interests', explains Professor Ian Roberts, of the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and lead author of the study. 'Unfortunately, the findings reveal that this is not always the case. Although we welcome the contribution of the car makers in tackling the global road safety epidemic, we believe that vigilance is needed to ensure that the interventions that the industry supports are based on sound evidence of effectiveness.'

Lindsay Wright | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>