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 young people (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.
Almost half of all deaths on the world’s roads are among those with the least protection – motorcyclists (23%), pedestrians (22%) and cyclists (4%).
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 provide an excellent overview of the pressing need for the Bank to implement improved safety standards for the roads it finances in order to “…greatly reduce disability and injuries and enhance economic growth.”