Deaths and injuries from road crashes are a major and growing public health concern. The World Health Organization has estimated that, worldwide, 1.27 million people are killed in road crashes every year and that almost half of them are pedestrians, motorcyclists or cyclists. In addition, road crashes cause between 20 million and 50 million non-fatal injuries per year and are an important cause of disability. The World Health Organization estimates that by 2015 road crashes will be the leading cause of premature death and disability for children aged 5 and above. Road crash deaths and injuries are most acute in developing countries and particularly impact developing economies.
It is often vulnerable road users (motorcyclists, pedestrians, cyclists) who are most likely to be injured as a result of a road crash. Studies show that road crashes are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury in both high-income and low-income countries. In addition to physical impairments, the survivor often experiences psychosocial issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, phobias and behavioural problems.
Road crashes are preventable and suitable actions can be developed to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities. Road safety and prevention initiatives are crucial aspects of development programmes and aim to reduce the harm (deaths, injuries, disabilities and property damage) resulting from road vehicle crashes. Road safety is achieved by employing a safe system approach which typically involves three interactive elements: safer road users; safer road environments; and safer vehicles. Successful campaigns often include setting up initiatives that combine road education in schools, intense public awareness-raising activities, first aid courses and efforts to influence local, national and international policies. This diverse approach is essential for bringing about a change in attitudes, and crash helmets are becoming an increasingly familiar sight in the rural landscape.
This key list highlights reports, manuals, guides, and websites that raise awareness about the field of road safety and prevention. We welcome your suggestions: please send comments or suggested additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Books, reports, etc
This document on developing sustainable safety in the Netherlands "starts with a section comprising theoretical backgrounds and analyses. The reader will, firstly, find a chapter with general theoretical backgrounds to the Sustainable Safety vision (Chapter 1), followed by analyses of road safety problems in the Netherlands (Chapter 2). The final chapter of Part I (Chapter 3) discusses an evaluation of what has been learned during a decade of Sustainable Safety - about implementation and the effects of measures based on that vision. Part II and III discuss the elaboration in the content of the advanced Sustainable Safety vision. Part II focuses on various types of measures in the field of infrastructure (Chapter 4), vehicles (Chapter 5), Intelligent Transport Systems (Chapter 6), education (Chapter 7) and regulation and enforcement directed at road user behaviour (Chapter 8). Part III focuses on specific problem areas or groups within road safety....(identified) as speed (Chapter 9), drink and drug driving (Chapter 10), young and novice drivers (Chapter 11), cyclists and pedestrians (Chapter 12), motorized two-wheelers (Chapter 13) and heavy goods vehicles (Chapter 14).... (T)his book (concludes) with a fourth part that sets out in one chapter (Chapter 15) implementation aspects and opportunities to advance Sustainable Safety"
"The purpose of this manual is to inform readers of practical ways to develop coordinated and integrated programmes to reduce drinking and driving (including riding motorcycles) within a country. The manual is aimed at addressing drinking and driving among drivers. Commercial drivers are an especially important group to address in terms of drinking and driving because of the large number of passengers they can carry and/or the number of kilometres they are likely to travel. While impaired pedestrians are acknowledged as a problem, this issue is not addressed here.
The manual is aimed at policy-makers and practitioners, and draws on experience from countries that have succeeded in reducing drinking and driving. It provides the background evidence to start a drinking and driving programme, and takes the user through the steps needed to undertake a problem assessment in a country. It then explains how to plan and implement a programme, including setting up a working group, developing a plan, examples of laws and enforcement needed, how to develop public education and publicity campaigns, and finally how to evaluate the programme.
In developing this manual the authors have drawn on case studies from around the world to illustrate "good practice". Examples from low and middle-income countries are given wherever possible, but it is a reflection on the lack of attention given to the issue in many countries that most examples are from highly motorized countries"
"This manual provides practical advice to road safety practitioners on how to achieve a much higher proportion of users of two-wheeled vehicles wearing helmets. It follows on from the World report on road traffic injury prevention, which described evidence that setting and enforcing mandatory helmet use is an effective intervention for reducing injuries and fatalities among two-wheeler users. The manual is one of a series of documents produce by an informal consortium (WHO, the Global Road Safety Partnership, the World Bank, and the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society) that aims to provide guidance to countries on how to implement some of the recommendations identified within the World Report, and thus improve their overall road safety record"
This resolution adopted by the General Assembly highlights the importance of improving global road safety. It recognises recent global initiatives and concludes by outlining eight points to further strengthen international cooperation and knowledge-sharing in road safety taking into account the needs of developing countries. This paper is useful for anyone interested in improving global road safety
87th plenary meeting on 31 March 2008
This declaration from the first global ministerial conference on road safety acknowledges the global road safety crisis and recognises current initiatives. It highlights 11 resolutions and invites the UN to establish a Decade of Action for Road Safety from 2011-2020. This declaration is useful to those interested in road safety
First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety : Time for Action
19-20 November 2009
This report contains recommendations to Governments from NGOs advocating for road victims and road safety. 33 recommendations are provided to improve road safety in the following five topics: general approach, prevention, post crash response, worldwide learning and joint initiatives and action. This report is useful to anyone interested in advocacy for road victims and road safety
Global Meeting of NGOs Advocating for Road Safety and Road Victims
7-8 May 2009
This practical guide "is intended as a summary of road safety problems and solutions worldwide. It also describes the activities of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the field of road safety and suggests possible improvements. In addition, the toolkit includes 20 recommendations that can be undertaken by the National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies"
This leaflet highlights the misuse of the term ‘accident’ in describing road crashes and advocates for road safety as a public health issue. This briefing was updated for the first UN Global Safety week. It is useful to anyone interested in road crashes and road safety
This report presents details about global road safety initiatives. It provides background information on the call for action, outlines the global recognition of the road safety crisis and highlights the actions taken by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies by presenting related figures, case studies and recommendations. This report is useful for anyone interested in road safety initiatives
This advocacy briefing paper shows the challenges to implementing road safety, the benefits of safe roads for communities, the international legal framework that discusses road safety in policy, suggestions for what individual actors can do to increase mobility and vehicle safety, and finally how to measure the progress of road safety programmes
This report from the World Health Assembly recognises that road traffic injuries are a public health problem and advocates for prevention initiatives on road safety and health. It highlights 13 recommendations for member states and eight requests to the Director-General. This paper is useful to those interested in road traffic injuries and road safety
World Health Assembly
17-22 May 2004
This declaration presents safety as a human right, which provides an important policy tool for injury control and safety promotion. It outlines the rationale, the definition of safety, the declaration and future next steps. This report is useful to anyone interested in safety as a human right
5th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Control
New Delhi, India
8th March 2000
"This report presents information on road safety from 182 countries, accounting for almost 99% of the world’s population. The report indicates that worldwide the total number of road traffic deaths remains unacceptably high at 1.24 million per year. Only 28 countries, covering 7% of the world’s population, have comprehensive road safety laws on five key risk factors: drinking and driving, speeding, and failing to use motorcycle helmets, seat-belts, and child restraints. This report serves as a baseline for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, declared by the UN General Assembly. This is the second in a Global status report series"
"This is a summary of the report ‘Towards Zero: Ambitious Road Safety Targets and the Safe System Approach’...The purpose of the report is to review the state of the art in improving road safety performance and examine the role of targets in raising the level of ambition and achieving effective implementation of road safety policies. The work aims to assist governments in raising the performance threshold by developing more systematic approaches to road safety. It highlights the institutional management changes required in many countries to implement effective interventions through a strong focus on results and underlines the economic case for road safety investment. This summary document comprises the recommendations, executive summary and table of contents of the full report together with details of the experts that contributed to the work"
"This joint WHO/World Bank report on road traffic injury prevention is an important part of the response to the world’s road safety crisis. It is directed at international, regional and national policy-makers, international agencies and key professionals in public health, transport, engineering, education and other sectors, and aims to stimulate action for road safety. It sets out universal principles rather than a ‘blue print’ for worldwide application, recognizing fully the need to identify local needs and the adaptation of ‘best practices’ accordingly"
Note: a summary of the report and a report factsheet are also available
"Road traffic injuries (RTIs) are a leading cause of disability and fatality globally. Motorcycle-related injuries, mainly head injuries, and related deaths and disabilities are a significant contributor to the burden of disease in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Helmets have been proven to be an effective way to reduce the risk of head injury. As motorcycle use continually increases in Cambodia, head injuries and related deaths and disabilities are expected to rise. This article aims to assess the current status of helmet use in Cambodia, as well as the knowledge, attitudes, and practices among motorcyclists, in order to assist with better planning and implementation of injury prevention strategies"
Traffic Injury Prevention, Vol 13, Supplement 1
This article describes the right of people to live in a world safe from harmful injuries as a fundamental human right. It presents background information about the need for a right to safety, people’s right to safety and a discussion about different priorities for action. This article is useful for anyone interested in safety as a human right
Note: This article is an introduction to the ‘People’s Right to Safety’ round table discussion at the 6th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Control held in Montreal, Canada in May 2012
Health and Human Rights, Vol 6, No 2
"WHO works with partners - governmental and nongovernmental - around the world to raise the profile of the preventability of road traffic injuries and promote good practices related to helmet and seat-belt wearing, not drinking and driving, not speeding and being visible in traffic." This website describes global and national road safety initiatives, and provides links to related publications, multimedia, and events. It is useful to anyone interested in road traffic injuries and road safety