ROAD SAFETY FACTS

The global epidemic of road crash fatalities and disabilities is gradually being recognized as a major public health concern. The first step to being informed about global road safety and to developing effective road safety interventions is to have access to facts.

Annual Global Road Crash Statistics

  • Approximately 1.35 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,700 people lose their lives every day on the roads.
  • An additional 20-50 million suffer non-fatal injuries, often resulting in long-term disabilities.
  • More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among vulnerable road users—pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.
  • Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among young people aged 5-29. Young adults aged 15-44 account for more than half of all road deaths.
  • More than 90% of all road fatalities occur in low- and middle-income countries, even though these countries have approximately 60% of the world’s vehicles.
  • On average, road crashes cost countries 3% of their gross domestic product.
  • Road crashes are the single greatest annual cause of death of healthy U.S. citizens traveling abroad.

Annual United States Road Crash Statistics

  • More than 38,000 people die every year in crashes on U.S. roadways. The U.S. traffic fatality rate is 12.4 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • An additional 4.4 million are injured seriously enough to require medical attention.
  • Road crashes are the leading cause of death in the U.S. for people aged 1-54.
  • The economic and societal impact of road crashes costs U.S. citizens $871 billion.
  • Road crashes cost the U.S. more than $380 million in direct medical costs.
  • The U.S. suffers the most road crash deaths of any high-income country, about 50% higher than similar countries in Western Europe, Canada, Australia and Japan.
  • Pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities continue to rise in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more pedestrians and cyclists were killed in 2018 than in any year since 1990.

Click to enlarge the infographic.

Reducing Road Crashes

Road safety is a shared responsibility. Reducing risk in the world’s road traffic systems requires commitment and informed decision-making by government, industry, non-governmental organizations and international agencies. It also requires the participation of people from many different disciplines, including road engineers, motor vehicle designers, law enforcement officers, health professionals, educators, and community groups.

Road Crashes: Predictable and Preventable

Road traffic crashes are predictable and can be prevented. Many countries have shown sharp reductions in the number of crashes and casualties by taking actions including:

  • Raising awareness of, legislating and enforcing laws governing speed limits, alcohol impairment, seat-belt use, child restraints and safety helmets.
  • Formulating and implementing transport and land-use policies that promote safer and more efficient trips; encouraging the use of safer modes of travel, such as public transport; and incorporating injury prevention measures into traffic management and road design.
  • Making vehicles more protective and visible for occupants, pedestrians and cyclists; using daytime running lights, high-mounted brake lights and reflective materials on cycles, carts, rickshaws and other non-motorized forms of transport.

Recommendations for Policy-Makers

The World Report on Road Traffic Injury and Prevention (WHO) suggests:

  • Identify a lead agency in government to guide the national road traffic safety effort.
  • Assess problems, policies, institutional settings and capacity relating to road traffic injury.
  • Prepare a national road safety strategy and plan of action.
  • Allocate financial and human resources to address the problem.
  • Implement specific actions to prevent road traffic crashes, minimize injuries and their consequences, and evaluate the impact of these actions.
  • Support the development of national capacity and international cooperation.

Contact

Follow us on Social Media

Sign up for our newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.