Death on the road is a 'drain on the economy'

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Deaths on the road are not just a tragedy. According to an international financial think-tank, they are an enormous drain on Western economies.

The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Control and Development - dubbed the rich countries' club - said enough people were killed in road accidents last year to fill 300 jumbo jets. According to its estimates for its 29 member countries, which range from the United States to Korea, 125,000 were killed in car crashes.

It said that although the number of deaths was falling, there was a "disturbing upward trend" for injuries, which rose 1.5 per cent between 1998 and 1999. "The real situation may well be worse given the under-reporting of injuries ... in many OECD countries."

The OECD, which is holding a seminar in Vienna in September on the issue, said: "New strategies, including measures to encourage proper behaviour on the part of drivers, are needed to reduce further the enormous waste to society caused by road accidents."