World Health Day 2004 – Road Safety

World Health Day 2004 marks the launch of a global campaign to prevent road traffic injuries. Each year, traffic accidents in the WHO European Region:

  • kill about 127 000 people;
  • injure some 2.4 million; and
  • kill more people aged 5–29 than any other cause of death.

The health sector can play a major role in tackling this serious public health problem by not only providing care and rehabilitation for injured people but also carrying out surveillance and promoting evidence-based strategies for prevention.

Effective preventive strategies exist, and successes in some Member States show that strong political commitment and comprehensive measures pay off in health gains. These innovative approaches can be adapted for use in different situations across the Region.

Action in the European Region

In the European Region, World Health Day 2004 focuses on preventing road traffic injuries as a key component of the integrated WHO/Europe strategy for sustainable transport. Prevention contributes to two key aims of this strategy:

  • reducing the negative health effects of transport: injuries and diseases caused by air and noise pollution and by physical inactivity; and
  • increasing the health benefits of such means of transport as cycling, walking and public transport: those associated with reduced pollution and increased physical activity.