The Road to Car Safety

The automobile – long a symbol of freedom, status, and success – is at a crossroads. The challenge today is to boost the benefits and reduce (and eventually eliminate) the harm done by our cars, so that the future of motor travel is clean, efficient, safe, and accessible to all.

TOKYO – The automobile – long a symbol of freedom, status, and success – is at a crossroads. For more than a century, cars have enabled billions of people to travel farther, faster, and more efficiently than ever before. They have helped power the world’s great economies and shaped our modern social and cultural landscape. But all of this has come at a price: accidents, congestion, pollution, and an uneasy dependence on oil, among other costs.

Our challenge, therefore, is to boost the benefits and reduce (and eventually eliminate) the harm done by our cars, so that the future of motor travel is clean, efficient, safe, and accessible to all. For our industry to remain an instrument of progress, we must therefore work closely with our peers from other industries and government in three major areas: safety, the environment, and affordability.

Road safety is a grave concern. More than 3,000 people die in auto-related accidents every day. Lower-income countries account for only half of all vehicles on the road but suffer more than 90% of the fatalities. India has four times fewer cars than France, though it suffers 20 times more road-related deaths – that is, 80 times more accidents per car.

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