Efforts must be scaled up to halve road traffic deaths by 2020

The publication "European facts and the Global status report on road safety 2015" was launched at the second Global High-level Conference on Road Safety: Time for Results, in Brasilia, Brazil, on 18–19 November. Delegates from more than 100 countries met to agree on ways to halve road traffic deaths by the end of this decade – a key milestone within the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 3.6). Their conclusions are set down in the Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety.

Progress in reducing road traffic deaths in the European Region

The publication reports almost 85 000 deaths from road traffic injuries in the WHO European Region in 2013, which is 8.1% less than reported in 2010. The risk of dying due to road traffic injuries in the European Region as a whole is much lower than in other regions of the world. Great progress has been made since 2010, with 40 countries (of the 53 Member States) reporting reductions in road traffic deaths. However, the global target of halving the number of deaths by 2020 will not be reached unless efforts are scaled up considerably in Europe.

Road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among people aged 5–29 years. The risk of dying varies across the Region, the highest rate being nine times  that in the country with the lowest rate. Four of ten road traffic deaths (39%) occur among pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Key strategies to reduce road traffic deaths

The "Global status report on road safety 2015" and the accompanying "European facts and the Global status report on road safety 2015" outline many of the strategies that countries can use to reduce deaths from road traffic crashes. Some are listed below.

  • Improve laws and their enforcement to reduce risky behaviour such as speeding, drinking and driving, and failing to use seat-belts, motorcycle helmets and child restraints. 
  • Make roads safer by modifying infrastructure such as pavements and introducing lanes separating cyclists and motorcyclists from vehicles.
  • Promote physically active, sustainable forms of transport, such as cycling, walking and public transport, to benefit both health and the environment.
  • Ensure that vehicles are equipped with life-saving technological fittings, including seat-belts, air bags and electronic stability control. 
  • Strengthen emergency trauma care systems for victims of road traffic crashes.