Traffic-related deaths have hit worrying levels in Indonesia amid an economic boom that has seen a growing number of people aspire to own a motor vehicle, a report from the World Health Organization indicates.
The Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013, released on Thursday, noted that 1.24 million people died on roads around the world in 2010, a figure it deemed “unacceptably high.” The reported death rate on Indonesia’s roads was put at 31,234, although the real figure could be as high as 47,673, the WHO said.
“Rapid motorization in Indonesia over the past few decades has been accompanied by an increasing number of road traffic fatalities,” the report said.
Motorcyclists accounted for the biggest segment of fatalities, at 36 percent, followed by bus passengers at 35 percent. Pedestrians were the next most vulnerable at 21 percent, while car drivers and passengers accounted for just 1 percent of fatalities.
The high number of fatalities among motorcyclists reflects the dominance of two-wheelers on the country’s streets. Of the nearly 72.7 million registered motor vehicles in Indonesia, the WHO report identified 60.1 million as motorcycles.
It also noted that while motorcycle drivers wore a helmet in 80 percent of cases, their passengers only wore a helmet 52 percent of the time.
Speeding was also highlighted as another factor. The report said that while national speed limits were in place, their enforcement by authorities was poor, rating just a four on a scale of zero to 10, with 10 representing the tightest enforcement possible.
“The world is rapidly motorizing, and as this report shows, more concerted action is needed, and it is needed now,” said Margaret Chan, the WHO director general.
“Without this, we can expect a rise in the number of deaths and injuries on our roads.”
But the report also noted that Indonesia’s data collection on traffic accidents had improved since the passage of legislation in 2009 requiring that information from insurance companies and hospitals be taken into account along with police reports.
“Although the government suspects that there is still underreporting in road traffic fatality data, improved data collection methods have allowed road safety planners to specify more precise and realistic targets for reductions in fatality levels over the next 10 years as part of their new National Road Safety Plan,” it said.