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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989


HIJAR, Martha; PEREZ-NUNEZ, Ricardo; INCLAN-VALADEZ, Cristina  and  SILVEIRA-RODRIGUES, Eugênia Maria. Road safety legislation in the Americas. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2012, vol.32, n.1, pp. 70-76. ISSN 1020-4989.

Legislating five of the main risk factors for road traffic injuries (RTIs), as much as enforcing the law, is essential in forging an integral culture of road safety. Analysis of the level of progression in law enforcement allows for an evaluation of the state of world regions. A secondary analysis of the 2009 Global status report on road safety: time for action survey was undertaken to evaluate legislation on five risk factors (speed management, drinking and driving, motorcycle helmet use, seatbelt use, and use of child restraints) in the Americas. Laws were classified depending on their level of progression: the existence of legislation, whether the legislation is adequate, a level of law enforcement > 6 (on a scale of 0-10), and whether the law is considered comprehensive. A descriptive analysis was performed. The totality of the countries has national or subnational legislation for at least one of the five risk factors. However, 63% have laws on the five risk factors studied, and none of them has comprehensive laws for all five. Seatbelt use appears to be the most extended enforced legislation, while speeding laws appear to be the least enforced. There are positive efforts that should be recognized in the region. However, the region stands in different stages of progression. Law enforcement remains the main issue to be tackled. Laws should be based on evidence about what is already known to be effective.

Keywords : Legislation as topic; accidents, traffic; seat belts; child restraint systems; head protective devices; Americas.

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