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Tackling one of the Worst Epidemics in History

IRF associates itself with the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims and draws the attention of the road & health community to the devastating socio-economic impacts of road crashes.

By Mike Dreznes, IRF Executive Vice President

Take a look at this chart:

The 10 Worst Epidemics In History

Rank Epidemic Period In History Estimated Number of Deaths
1 Plague of Justinian 541-542 100,000,000
2 Black Plague 1346-1350 50,000,000
3 HIV/AIDS 1960-present 39,000,000
4 1918 Flu (Spanish Flu) 1918-1920 20,000,000
5 Modern Plague 1894-1903 10,000,000
6 Asian Flu 1957-1958 2,000,000
7 Sixth Cholera Pandemic 1899-1923 1,500,000
8 Russian Flu 1889-1890 1,000,000
9 Hong Kong Flu 1968-1969 1,000,000
10 Fifth Cholera Pandemic 1881-1896 981,899

If approximately 1,250,000 people are killed each year on the roads around the world, and another 30 to 50 million people are seriously injured, where does the Road Safety Epidemic fit on this chart? If evaluated since 1960, like the HIV/AIDS disease, I would argue that it has to be in the top three worst epidemics in history! It is probable that at least 50,000,000 plus people have died on our roads around the world since 1960.

Medical Science has done wonders to develop vaccines to control the Flu Epidemics, and the Cholera Pandemics, etc. The bad news is that unlike the Flu Epidemics or Cholera Pandemics, the number of fatalities on the world’s roads continue to grow, especially in lower and middle income countries. The even sadder news is that vaccines do exist to reduce the carnage on the roads around the world. Why are these vaccines not being used? I want to believe it is not for lack of caring, it is for lack of knowing of the existence of these vaccines by road authorities around the world.

If you want to learn about vaccines for road safety, then please consider joining IRF’s curriculum of safety training programs. Our courses will require your intense, dedicated, committed effort to learn about road safety. However, once you see the level of safety improve on your roads because you implemented something that you learned at this course, the hard work will be all worth it.

As we gear up for the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims: If something is important to you, you will Find a Way to make it happen. If something is not important to you, you will find an excuse. What can be more important than saving someone’s life? IF NOT YOU, THEN WHO? IF NOT NOW, THEN WHEN?


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