Planning for road safety: awareness, behavior and infrastructure

Traffic crashes have become a global epidemic1. Fortunately, government authorities and NGOs around the world are working hard with a combination of awareness, behavior and infrastructure strategies to reverse this deadly trend through traffic safety initiatives.

If you live in a low-income country, traffic crashes are one of the top ten causes of death. If you live in Costa Rica, considered an upper middle-income country by the World Bank2, you’re more likely to die in a traffic accident than from liver or stomach cancer3. Even if you live in the U.S., auto accidents kill more people than pancreatic cancer, liver or heart disease, violence, suicide or any other injury4.

Motor vehicle accident statistics are staggering. According to the World Health Organization (WHO):

  • Every year, more than 1.2 million people die each year, and up to 50 million are injured due to road traffic crashes (page ix, x)
  • Approximately 90 percent of traffic-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (page 4)
  • Road traffic crashes are the number one cause of death for people between the age of 15 and 29 (page x)
  • Almost half of all deaths on the world’s roads are motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians (page 8)

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