More young people aged between 15-29 die from road crashes than from HIV/AIDs, Malaria, Tuberculosis or homicide. 

This means that road crashes are a serious threat to youth no matter where they are. There are certain factors that put young people at particular risk, they are explained here.



What are the main risk factors?

There are several risk factors that contribute to road traffic injuries among youth. Below are the five key risk-factors, take a look at each of the following factors to understand more about the problem.

Helmets Speeding Drink-driving 

Seatbelts Distracted-driving

What do we know? 

The statistics are clear and there is no doubt that the crisis facing young people is very real: Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds, causing more deaths than HIV/AIDS or Tuberculosis. Over 30% of those killed and injured in road traffic crashes are less than 25 years old. 

LMICs - Low and Midde Income Countries
Most young people killed by road traffic injuries live in LMICs and are vulnerable road users – pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and users of public transport. The socioeconomic condition of a family affects the likelihood of a child or young adult being killed or injured in a road traffic crash. Those from economically poor backgrounds, in both richer and poorer countries, are at greatest risk.

More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among individuals between 15 and 55 years of age and 73% of those who lose their lives are males. This means that victims are in the prime of life and often breadwinner for their families. Their loss can push their families further into poverty. 


Why are young people at increased risk?

Three main factors come together to put youth at more risk of road traffic crashes worldwide: age, inexperience and gender (among drivers, young males under the age of 25 years are almost three times as likely to be killed as females of this age). This is in addition to the factors that put all age groups at greater risk, including lack of laws for road safety, insufficient law enforcement and worn out roads and vehicles.

We must also consider the 'environmental context', for example, roads that do not cater to the needs of all road users such as pedestrians and children; pedestrians and cyclists sharing the road with motorized traffic; insufficient enforcement of safety laws.

At a time when the world is facing problems such as hunger, poverty, natural disasters and wars, why focus on road safety?

Here, we explain briefly how road traffic injuries threaten public health, sustainable development and social equity and why this global crisis deserves attention now.





A threat to sustainable development

In September 2015, the world set their global development agenda for the next 15 years. These are called the Global Goals, which include for the first time, two road safety targets:

  • Target 3.6 – By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents

  • Target 11.2 - By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons

There's less than five years to halve the number of road deaths globally by 2020. YOURS is calling for real action to reach this very ambitious target. You can help us by joining the #SaveKidsLives campaign and ask our leaders to publish their plans.

Global Goals 

A growing public health concern

  • Around the world, road traffic injuries cause 1.25 million deaths and up to 50 million injuries each year. These injuries can lead to life long disability including brain and spinal cord injury.

  • Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among young people aged 15-29.

  • Unless serious action is taken, road traffic deaths are expected to increase by 67% by 2020 and become the fifth leading cause of death by 2030. If this happens, road traffic crashes will cause an estimated 1.9 million fatalities each year by 2020 and 2.4 million fatalities each year by 2030.


World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention

A social equity issue

  • More than 90% of road traffic deaths occur in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). In addition to all the other problems they face, people living in poor economic settings are at higher risk of road traffic injuries for many reasons, including worse roads, less awareness and education, and less access to quality health services.

  • Road traffic injuries have higher impact on the poor even in HICs. For example, in the United Kingdom and Sweden, poorer people are more likely to be involved in a crash than their more affluent counterparts.

  • By 2020, fatalities are predicted to increase by 80% in LMICs and decrease by 30% in high-income countries (HICs). Almost 50% of crash victims are more vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.

  • Road traffic crashes not only have a high cost in terms of lives but also financially. The global monetary cost of road traffic injuries is more that US$ 500 billion each year or 1-3% of each country's Gross National Product (GNP). This reflects costs of medical treatment, rehabilitation, loss of productivity (fewer days at work), legal costs and much more.

For recent studies please visit the website of the World Health Organization that act as coordinator on road safety issues across the United Nations system: Latest data can be found in the Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015.

Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015

Check road safety in your country

 Data from the Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015




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