Road Safety Manual
A manual for practitioners and decision makers
on implementing safe system infrastructure!

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1. Scope of the Road Safety Problem

Key messages

  • Road traffic injury is a major global public health problem. Rapid motorisation in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) along with the poor safety quality of road traffic systems and the lack of institutional capacity to manage outcomes contribute to a growing crisis.
  • Every year, around 1.3 million people are killed on road around the world and about 50 million are injured. These are mainly in LMICs, amongst vulnerable road users and involve the most socio-economically active citizens.
  • Road traffic injury is the leading cause of death globally for children and young people aged 15–29. Without urgent action, it is forecast that road traffic injury will be the 7th leading cause of death for all by 2030.
  • In socio-economic terms, countries around the world are paying a high price for motorised mobility. Road traffic deaths and injuries in low-and middle-income countries are estimated to cause economic losses of up to 5% of GDP compared to an estimated global average of 3% of GDP.
  • Death and serious injury from road crashes are preventable if crash energies are managed so that they do not exceed human tolerances for serious and fatal injury and this is accomplished with effective, results-focused and resourced road safety management.
  • Safe System goals and strategies focus on providing a road traffic system free from death and serious injury. 
  • Safe System guides the planning, design, management, operation and use of the road traffic system to provide safety in spite of human fallibility. It places a shared accountability across all elements of the system.
  • Preventing road trauma on public roads and in the course of work is a core responsibility for government, its agencies and employers and requires shared responsibility and leadership.
  • The scale of the road safety challenge and the diversity of the effects of road traffic injury underline the importance of exploring synergies with other societal goals and priorities.
  • A second UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021–2030 has been announced with an ambitious global target and plan to reduce road traffic deaths and serious injuries by at least 50% by 2030.


Reference sources

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