In the European Region, every year road traffic crashes kill over 90 000 people and injure at least 2 million. They are the most important cause of death in the group aged 5–29 years. Two out of three road victims are from poorer countries, and 43% (almost 40 000) of those who die are pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists. Speed is the single most important determinant of safety in road transport systems.
While many European countries have used intersectoral measures to reduce the number of lives lost, the death rate of low- and middle-income countries is more than double that of high-income countries. Compelling evidence shows that road traffic injuries can be prevented, making the current situation even less acceptable.
WHO/Europe’s activities aim to help ensure road safety and prevent road traffic injuries by collating evidence on health effects and prevention measures, identifying risk factors and suggesting solutions through policies and interventions. These seek to actively support countries in achieving the goals of the Decade of Action on Road Safety., which is to reduce the unnecessary deaths and disabilities on the roads. To provide a baseline for the Decade the European facts and Global status report on road safety 2013 has been produced.
WHO also promotes new thinking about road safety in Europe that builds safety into the transport system, and supports the improvement of implementation mechanisms and tools to achieve road safety.