ALERT – WHO Global status report on road safety 2018: global road traffic death on the rise

Posted by: on Dec 7, 2018 | No Comments

The report, published today, indicates that 1.35 million people die on the road each year. Road traffic injuries are now the leading killer of children and youth aged 5 to 29 years.

The World Health Organization (WHO)’s global status report on road safety is released every two to three years, and serves as the key monitoring tool for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. Compared to the previous report released in 2015, the Global status report on road safety 2018 finds that the number of road traffic remains unacceptably high, rising from 1.25 million death per year to 1.35 million. In the last 3 years, only 1/3 of countries saw a reduction of the number of road traffic casualties. Road traffic injuries were already the leading cause of death for youth 15-29, it is now also the main killer of children 5 to 14 around the globe.

Making a stronger case for road safety as a central challenge for inclusive development

According to WHO, road traffic deaths are 3 times higher in low-income countries that in high income countries. Middle and low-income countries account for 93% of total road traffic death. In fact, compared to the state of play highlighted in the previous report, the gap between high income countries and low income countries became even more substantial: no reductions or increase in the number of road traffic deaths were observed in any low-income country, while reductions were observed in 48 middle- and high-income countries. These statistics alone highlight the magnitude of the development challenge we face.

Vulnerable road users, which include pedestrians, among which persons with disabilities, elderly and children, cyclists and motorcyclists, are at higher risk of sustaining injuries from road crashes: they now represent 54% of road traffic deaths, compared to 46% in previous report.  Unsafe roads kill and injure, but they are also a major factor of social exclusion, especially for road users with specific needs: when people feel unsafe to use the roads, they cannot access education, employment, infrastructure and services, as emphasized in HI study “Making Cities Inclusive: Safe Mobility for Persons with Disabilities in Developing Countries”.

Read the report here.