Global Road Safety Improvements Could Prevent Half-Million Deaths in Traffic Accidents: Report

Lowering speed limits could save over 20 thousand U.S. lives yearly, according to the report that highlights road safety improvements that should be implemented

A series of research papers concerning global traffic safety were released last week in advance of a United Nations meeting, which indicate implementing proven road safety measures could prevent more than 540,000 deaths in traffic accidents worldwide.

Road safety has become a global public health concern over the past two decades, as it is estimated that more than 50 million people are injured or disabled, and nearly 1.4 million are killed in accidents. Road traffic injuries (RTIs) are also the leading cause of death for children and young people between the ages of five and 29, and they are nearly all preventable.

A team of international researchers from various universities, including the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, the Milken Institute School of Public Health, the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico, and the George Institute for Global Health, Imperial College London, wrote a series of three papers tackling the problem of auto injury accidents across the globe for a U.N. General Assembly is meeting on road safety, which was held June 30 and July 1 in New York City.

The reports were published in the medical journal The Lancet, showing the evolution of traffic accidents across the world, and discussing the political and economic dynamics that led to the rapid growth that has catapulted accidents to become the 8th leading cause of death worldwide in a relatively short amount of time. The series also compiles the most comprehensive evidence on treating and preventing traffic-related injuries.

Did You Know?

Millions of Philips CPAP Machines Recalled

Philips DreamStation, CPAP and BiPAP machines sold in recent years may pose a risk of cancer, lung damage and other injuries.

Learn More

While the first paper in the series, “The political and social contexts of global road safety: challenges for the next decade“, mainly focuses on the increased political acceptance of RTIs as a dire issue that needs addressing, it is the second paper “Saving lives through road safety risk factor interventions: global and national estimates” which illustrates the true costs of this epidemic and how historically proven methods of road safety could save many lives.

According to the paper, there are four main risk factors for road traffic injuries: speeding, drunk driving, helmet use, and the use of seatbelts or child restraints. Analyzing the information available, the researchers concluded that the implementation of evidence-based road safety interventions which target those four main road safety risk factors could prevent between 25% and 40% of all fatal road injuries worldwide.

In the U.S. alone, the effect of instituting these proven methods of road safety would save more than 43,000 lives yearly, according to the findings. The research suggests lowering speed limits would save more than 22,000 U.S. lives; better use of seat belts would save 14,000; interventions on drunken driving would save more than 5,100, and better use of helmets would save nearly 2,400 lives.

The third paper in the series, “Improvement in trauma care for road traffic injuries: an assessment of the effect on mortality in low-income and middle-income countries”,  focuses on the care of patients suffering from RTIs and how to best institute changes to reduce the number of deaths. It is believed that the proper implementation of fully operational trauma systems could save more than 200,000 lives per year globally.

These papers were published just before the United Nations High-level Meeting on Global Road Safety, which examined the past and recent efforts to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal target 3.6 which calls for a 50% reduction of road traffic injuries by 2030.


"*" indicates required fields

Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

Provide additional contact information if you want an attorney to review your comments and contact you about a potential case. This information will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

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

More Top Stories