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Effects of transport > Road traffic injuries


Keyword road traffic safety; integrated urban planning; sustainable transport

RTIs have been recognized by the United Nations (UN) as a worldwide epidemic in resolution A/58/289. The UN are addressing this epidemic through a new thinking that aims at reversing the current most common vision:

  1. Road crashes are not an accident: they must be avoided through prevention;
  2. Roads must adapt to people's vulnerability, rather than the other way round.

About 65% of car crashes (more than 2 million per year in the pan-European region) occur in towns, causing over 127,000 road deaths per year. Road crashes result in death, injury and lifelong disability.

RTIs are a major, costly and largely avoidable public health problem. Cost-effective preventive strategies for RTIs have been documented by WHO in the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention and in its European companion, Preventing Road Traffic Injury: a Public Health Perspective for Europe.

Such strategies need to be applied through multisectoral approaches, requiring:

  • Strong political commitment and leadership;
  • Making road safety part of the core business of the health sector;
  • Integration of injury prevention with sustainable transport;
  • Broader adoption of the latest road safety thinking in Europe;
  • Understanding that speed is the core problem;
  • Improvement of implementation mechanisms promoting road safety, so that new partnerships can be forged; and
  • Wider adoption of evidence-based interventions.


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