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WHO Must Push For Lower Speed Limits To Ease Pressure On Virus-Impacted Hospitals, Urge Experts

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WHO Must Push For Lower Speed Limits To Ease Pressure On Virus-Impacted Hospitals, Urge Experts

Two employees in Stuttgart mount a 40kph sign. (Photo by Marijan Murat/picture alliance via Getty … [+] Medics and other experts are calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) to recommend that national governments should lower speed limits on their roads as a means of reducing hospital admissions during the coronavirus outbreak.

Many countries have introduced lockdown measures that have resulted in reduced road usage. Some motorists are speeding on the newly empty roads, risking their own lives and endangering pedestrians and cyclists as well as other motorists.

“I’ve been cycling to the front line in an NHS hospital,” says Sunil Bhopal, a clinical lecturer in population health pediatrics at Newcastle University.

“I’ve been worried by how fast the cars are speeding past me now; it’s changed out there.”

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Bhopal, who is also an honorary assistant professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, wants WHO to advocate for speed limits to be lowered, but also believes national governments could be prime movers.

“I think the U.K. government can take the lead on this—they can do it if they want to.” Bhopal was coauthor of a March 24 blog in the British Medical Journal calling for several emergency public health interventions to prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed by COVID-19.

“First, we suggest an immediate reduction in motor vehicle speed limits,” argued the blog.“In England alone, there are around 35,000 non-fatal admissions to hospital every year related to road traffic accidents,” the authors explained.“More than one in 10 of these are serious and likely to require intensive support, including anesthesia and surgery.”The blog called for national speed limits to be reduced by 10mph […]

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