The global epidemic of road crash fatalities and disabilities has been 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 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year; on average 3,700 people lose their lives every day on the roads.
  • An additional 2050 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 a leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 529.
  • 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.
  • Road traffic crashes cost countries 3% or more of their gross domestic product.
  • Road crashes are a major cause of death of healthy U.S. citizens traveling abroad.

Annual United States Road Crash Statistics

  • An estimated 42,915 people died in car crashes in 2021, a 10.5% increase over 2020.
  • According to latest projections for traffic fatalities in 2022, an estimated 31,785 people died in traffic crashes in the first nine months of the year. This represents a 0.2% decrease as compared to the estimated fatalities for the same time in 2021.
  • It is estimated that for the first three quarters of 2022, fatalities increased in 25 states, stayed unchanged in one state, and decreased in 24 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
  • Fatalities increased in the first half of 2022 as compared to the same period in 2021 by:
    • 12% on rural interstates
    • 10% in crashes involving at least one large truck
    • 8% among cyclists
    • 5% among motorcyclists
    • 2% among pedestrians
  • Fatalities decreased in the first half of 2022 as compared to the same period of 2022 by:
    • 10% in children younger than 16
    • 10% on urban collector and local roads
    • 9% in vehicle rollover crashes
    • 8% in people ages 16 to 24
    • 2% in speeding-related crashes
  • In 2020, 6,516 pedestrians were killed and an estimated 55,000 pedestrians were injured nationwide.
  • The United States is 47th in terms of pedestrian fatalities in a list of 54 industrialized countries, according to the World Health Organization.
  • The U.S. death rate for pedestrians in car/truck crashes is more than 600% higher than the safest countries, including Norway and Singapore.
  • Speeding was a factor in 29% of all traffic fatalities in 2020, killing 11,258, or an average of more than 20 people a day, according to the National Safety Council.
  • In 2020 there were 11,654 fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes in which at least one driver was alcohol-impaired—on average one alcohol-impaired-driving fatality every 45 minutes.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation’s most recent estimate of the annual economic cost of crashes is $340 billion.
  • In January of 2022 the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced the country’s first comprehensive National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS). The NRSS provides concrete steps to address the road safety crisis systematically and prevent these tragic and avoidable deaths and serious injuries.


Unless otherwise noted, data source is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Road Crashes:
Predictable and Preventable

A number of factors contribute to road crashes and resulting deaths and severity of injuries. These include:

By understanding each of these factors and through planning, effective management and evidence-based interventions, road crashes can be predicted and prevented. Having access to accurate and updated information about the current road situation enables drivers, pedestrians and passengers to make informed road safety decisions.

ASIRT’s Road Safety Reviews (RSR), available for more than 80 countries, provide corporate travelers, study abroad students and faculty, humanitarian organizations and individual travelers with country-specific information helping them to make these decisions.

Reducing Road Crashes:
A Shared Responsibility

Reducing road risks 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, the media, educators, community groups and individual road users. Strong public awareness campaigns are essential to raise understanding of the issue and motivate individual and governments to take action, comply with existing laws and introduce and/or amend laws that do not exist or are ineffective.

Vision Zero is a strategy first implemented in Sweden in the 1990s to eliminate all traffic fatalities and serious injuries while increasing safe, healthy and equitable mobility for all. Vision Zero has now been adopted in many counties throughout the world. The Vision Zero philosophy maintains that traffic deaths are preventable and compensates for inevitable human errors on the roads. Vision Zero recognizes that people will sometimes make mistakes and therefore the road system and related policies should be designed so that human error does not result in death and serious injury. To accomplish this, a safe system must be designed. The Safe System approach to road safety aims to protect people from death and serious injury by ensuring that all aspects of the transport system are designed to safeguard the road users and the inevitable errors that they will make.

The Safe System Approach is a holistic view of the road transport system and the interactions among roads and roadsides, travel speeds, vehicles and road users. It is an inclusive approach that caters for all groups using the road system, including drivers, motorcyclists, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, and commercial and heavy vehicle drivers.


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