According to the World Health Organization, road traffic crashes kill 1.2 milion people every year. That's nearly 3,300 people every day. Every year they injure as many as 50 million more. Road traffic crashes are the #1 cause of death among those aged 15–29 years. This burden of this public health crisis is overwhelmingly borne by the poor: 90% of road traffic deaths occur in low and middle-income countries, yet these countries have just 54% of the world’s vehicles.
Unsafe roads are a major factor contributing to the large number of road crash deaths and injuries. In the developing world, many roads are built without basic safety features like pedestrian crossings for children going to school. We believe this needs to change.
% of road Traffic Deaths
% of world's vehicles
Almost half of all deaths on the world’s roads are among those with the least protection – motorcyclists (23%), pedestrians (22%) and cyclists (4%). However, the likelihood of dying on the road as a motorcyclist, cyclist or pedestrian varies by region: the African Region has the highest proportion of pedestrian and cyclist deaths at 43% of all road traffic deaths, while these rates are relatively low in the South-East Asia Region (see Figure 6). This partly reflects the level of safety measures in place to protect different road users and the predominant forms of mobility in different regions.
Road traffic fatalities per 100,000 People, By country income
Forty-nine members of the US Congress have written to World Bank President Jim Kim urging him to implement a three-star minimum safety standard on all roads the Bank finances. The bipartisan congressional letters (one letter signed by signed by 41 members of the House of Representatives and a second letter signed by eight members of the Senate) provide an excellent overview of the pressing need for the Bank to implement a mandatory three-star minimum to “…greatly reduce disability and injuries and enhance economic growth.”