Road accidents cost the world economy $500bn every year, the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said at an international conference.

“The price of human tragedy is impossible to measure but the damage to national economies from road accidents is possible to measure – this damage is more than $500bn,” Medvedev said.

Speaking at the First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Russia, the President said that the accidents cause a large city, a megapolis, to be wiped off the world map every year, with an average of 3,500 people being killed daily.

Road accidents have already cost 21,300 lives so far in 2009 in Russia in 168,000 traffic accidents.

Medvedev called the situation “serious” and said he wants to reduce road fatalities by 33% by 2012, compared with the 2004 figure of 35,000.

Nearly 1,500 delegates from 150 countries attended the conference held last week in Russian capital Moscow.