Traffic accidents are one of the main problems of developed countries. Across the European Union, each year over 40,000 people are killed as a result of traffic accidents and more than 150,000 are disabled for life. In Spain, 1,126 persons were killed on the road in 2015.
With regard to children (0-14 years), a total of 46 children were killed, 410 others were severely injured and 5,502 were mildly injured in 2013, according to the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT). Furthermore, due to their fragility, children are often the most affected in traffic accidents with victims. In countries like Mexico, for example, the loss of parents due to collisions is the second leading cause of child orphanage.
Undoubtedly, the suffering of victims of severe accidents can not be expressed in economic terms. Neither can any amount of money compensate for the loss of a relative or their permanent disability. However, estimating the economic costs of accidents on the road is essential for making the right investments to prevent these.
A cost of almost 1 percent of the GDP
The Road Safety Annual Report 2015, published by the OECD in October 2015, states that traffic accidents cost Spain 9.64 billion euros in 2013. This amount refers to expenditure arising from care -including healthcare- of all kinds of victims and amounts to, according to the document, 0.94 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The breakdown of OECD data shows that the largest item was destined to hospitalized persons: nearly 4.19 billion euros. Followed by 3.14 billion for the injured and 2.31 billion for fatal victims. "This does not include amounts resulting from damage to private property," claims the agency.
OECD figures are based on the study El valor monetario de una vida estadística en España. Estimación en el contexto de los accidentes de tráfico (The monetary value of a statistical life in Spain. Estimation made in the context of traffic accidents), drawn up in 2011 by the Universidad de Murcia and the Universidad Pablo de Olavide in Seville, and funded by the DGT. This research concludes that in 2011, the cost of a traffic accident victim in Spain was 1.4 million euros for fatal victims, 219,000 for the severely injured and 6,100 for the mildly injured.
While it is true that the number of accident victims in Spain has declined substantially in recent years, these are economic costs that, apart from the human tragedy involving accidents, no developed society can afford. The need is evidenced, to take more measures to prevent casualties on the road.
'Goal Zero' accidents
In this context, Fundación MAPFRE would like to reduce traffic accidents to zero, in the city by 2030 and on the road by 2050. "It is an entirely achievable challenge. It is realistic in the medium term," said to the Manager of the Accident Prevention and Road Safety Area of Fundación MAPFRE, Jesus Monclús.
To do so, Fundación MAPFRE recommends 23 measures, which include promoting the use of highways and new technologies in vehicles, training in first aid or continuous road safety education. And through the Goal Zero campaign, it aims to raise awareness on the dangers and responsibilities of drivers regarding drugs, alcohol, speed, distractions, use of helmets or child restraint systems.
Within its Goal Zero Children at Risk, it stresses that child seats are the best option to protect children since these prevent between 50 and 80 percent of all injuries in case of an accident.