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

View the WHO's infographics on road safety facts.

  • Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day.
  • An additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled.
  • More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults ages 15-44.
  • Road traffic crashes rank as the 9th leading cause of death and account for 2.2% of all deaths globally.
  • Road crashes are the leading cause of death among young people ages 15-29, and the second leading cause of death worldwide among young people ages 5-14.
  • Each year nearly 400,000 people under 25 die on the world's roads, on average over 1,000 a day.
  • Over 90% of all road fatalities occur in low and middle-income countries, which have less than half of the world's vehicles.
  • Road crashes cost USD $518 billion globally, costing individual countries from 1-2% of their annual GDP.
  • Road crashes cost low and middle-income countries USD $65 billion annually, exceeding the total amount received in developmental assistance.
  • Unless action is taken, road traffic injuries are predicted to become the fifth leading cause of death by 2030.

Annual United States Road Crash Statistics

  • Over 37,000 people die in road crashes each year
  • An additional 2.35 million are injured or disabled
  • Over 1,600 children under 15 years of age die each year
  • Nearly 8,000 people are killed in crashes involving drivers ages 16-20
  • Road crashes cost the U.S. $230.6 billion per year, or an average of $820 per person
  • Road crashes are the single greatest annual cause of death of healthy U.S. citizens traveling abroad

Reducing Road Crashes A Shared Responsibility

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.