Driving has its risks. Motorists have to be extremely careful when observing road conditions around them. Even so, there is always the risk of a collision by a negligent driver in which serious injury and even death may result. The number of collisions resulting in a fatality numbers in the thousands annually. However, while driving can be dangerous, it is not more dangerous than the smog emitted from vehicles.
According to a study published in the Environmental Science and Technology, approximately 3,300 deaths in the UK in 2005 were linked to emission sources, while deaths from direct collisions numbered just below 3,000.
The study was conducted by Steve Yim and Steven Barrett from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The research came in light of London’s violation of air quality regulations set forth by the E.U., which could result in massive penalty fees for the British government if it does not address the issue.
The study further shows that another 6,000 deaths in the country can be attributed to emissions that originated from other regions surrounding the UK. Likewise, an additional 3,100 deaths from other European countries can be traced back to emission from UK sources.
Yim and Barrett analyzed the country’s emission rates according to categories that include road transport, shipping and air, residential, and agricultural sources. Other factors like population density and wind patterns were also factored in. The research discovered that road transportation was the biggest contributor of emission related deaths. This is likely due to the fact that emission from ground vehicles occur at ground level.
While the studies pertained to the UK, other nations need to take notice as well. This is another reason the world needs to begin looking into alternate sources of power, such as wind and solar energy. Aside from human casualties, the emission is also slowly strangling the eco system. It is about time for developed nations to search elsewhere for viable energy sources.