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Main content:

Road Safety

Pedestrian crossing in Brazil
Pie chart: 0.4% of world population injured (24.3 millions) Bar chart: 1.28 million deaths per year Bar chart: 518 billion $ in damages per year Negative trend

Everybody should be safe in road traffic, but to date many people are harmed by accidents. Accidents in road traffic cause considerable more damages to human life, health and economy than in traffic by train, ship or airplane.

Affected people and foundations of life: About 24.3 million people were injured or disabled in road traffic crashes in 2004 (WHO [World Health Organization] 2008a, 28). The global economic costs of road crashes have been estimated to be US$ (United States dollar) 518 billion annually (WHO 2003, 96).

Deaths: 1.28 million people died in road traffic in 2004 (WHO 2008a, 58, 117).

Loss of healthy life-years: 41.2 million healthy life-years in 2004 (DALYs [Disability-adjusted life years], attributable to road traffic accidents; WHO 2008a, 64).

Targets/goals: no international target.

Trend: Road traffic deaths are predicted to increase by 67% from 2000 to 2020 (WHO 2004a, 39).

Measures: safe road design, traffic management, seat belts, helmets, day-time running lights, speed limits, and restrictions on drinking and driving (WHO 2002, 72).


For numeric names the short scale is used:
1 billion = one thousand million = 109 = 1 000 000 000

DALYs: Disability-adjusted life years.
One DALY represents the loss of one year of equivalent full health. DALYs are the sum of the years of life lost due to premature mortality (YLL) in the population and the years lost due to disability (YLD) for incident cases of the health condition. (WHO 2004, 95f.)


Draft (2008)

This draft is to be reviewed by experts. Your hints are welcome, please use the contact form.

Photo credit: © WHO/P. Virot