top of page

Road Safety

Road traffic Injuries - Key facts and overview

Key Facts about Road Traffic Injuries


- Annual Mortality: Road traffic crashes claim approximately 1.19 million lives each year.

- Leading Cause for Youth: These injuries are the top cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29.

- Disproportionate Impact: Despite having only about 60% of the world's vehicles, low- and middle-income countries account for 92% of global road fatalities.

- Vulnerable Road Users: Over half of road traffic deaths involve pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.

- Economic Burden: Road traffic crashes cost countries roughly 3% of their gross domestic product.

- UN Target: The United Nations aims to halve global deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes by 2030.




Every year, around 1.19 million people die due to road traffic crashes, while 20 to 50 million more suffer non-fatal injuries, many of which result in long-term disabilities. These incidents cause significant economic losses, including the costs of medical treatment and lost productivity from deaths and disabilities. The economic burden of road traffic crashes is estimated at 3% of the gross domestic product in most countries.


At-Risk Groups


Socioeconomic Status

Over 90% of road traffic deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, with the highest rates in the WHO African Region and the lowest in the European Region. Within high-income countries, individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds face higher risks.



Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for those aged 5-29. Two-thirds of these fatalities involve individuals of working age (18-59 years).



Men are three times more likely than women to die in road crashes.


Risk Factors


Safe System Approach

Transport systems should accommodate human error and ensure safety for all users. Key components include safe roads and roadsides, safe speeds, safe vehicles, and safe road users.



Higher average speeds increase both the likelihood and severity of crashes. For every 1% increase in speed, the risk of a fatal crash rises by 4%, and serious crash risk by 3%. Pedestrian fatality risk rises significantly between 50 km/h and 65 km/h.


Driving Under Influence

Alcohol and drugs impair driving, increasing crash risk. Even low blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) elevate crash risk, and amphetamine use increases fatal crash risk by about five times.


Non-Use of Safety Gear

Proper helmet use reduces death risk in motorcycle crashes by over six times and brain injury by up to 74%. Seat-belts can halve the risk of death for vehicle occupants, and child restraints reduce infant deaths by 71%.


Distracted Driving

Mobile phone use quadruples the risk of crashes. Hands-free devices are not significantly safer, and texting greatly increases crash risk.


Unsafe Road Infrastructure

Roads should be designed for the safety of all users, including pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. Features like footpaths, cycling lanes, and safe crossing points can mitigate injury risks.


Unsafe Vehicles

Vehicles should meet UN safety regulations, including impact standards, electronic stability control, airbags, and seat-belts. Without these, the risk of injury increases significantly.


Inadequate Post-Crash Care

Timely medical care after crashes is crucial. Delays can be fatal, emphasizing the need for prompt prehospital and hospital care through specialist training and access.


Inadequate Law Enforcement

Laws on drink-driving, seat-belt use, speed limits, helmets, and child restraints must be enforced to be effective. Perceived lack of enforcement reduces compliance and undermines safety efforts.



Governments must adopt a comprehensive approach to road safety, involving sectors like transport, police, health, and education, alongside private sector and civil society involvement. Effective measures include designing safer roads, improving vehicle safety, enhancing post-crash care, enforcing laws, and raising public awareness.

Power in Numbers







Project Gallery

bottom of page