Saving lives through road safety risk factor interventions: global and national estimates

1 July, 2022

With thanks to Global Health Now. Summary and comment from me below.


The majority of traffic deaths are preventable, and simple road safety interventions like lowering speed limits could save nearly 540,000 lives worldwide every year, Forbes reports [ ], highlighting a series published in The Lancet yesterday.

~25% to 40% of road deaths annually could be prevented by targeting speeding, drunk driving and helmet and seat-belt wearing in 185 countries, according to a systematic literature review of peer-reviewed studies.

Nearly 1.4 million people die from traffic injuries each year; another ~50 million suffer injuries.


COMMENT (NPW): The Lancet paper 'provides decision makers and donors with evidence on the potential effect of addressing these risk factors for every given country', and yet even without these data the evidence is clear that road safety measures change lives. So why are so many countries excruciatingly slow to implement policy in this direction? It seems to me there is a case for transformative change similar to what we are seeing with tobacco control. What do you think?

Best wishes, Neil

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, Global Coordinator HIFA,

Working in official relations with WHO