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WHO Report on Global Road Safety Shows that After a Decade of Progress, More Needs to be Done to Reduce Traffic Fatalities

By Kelly Larson, Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health Team

Road safety is an issue that hasn’t gotten nearly the attention it deserves – and it is one of our great opportunities to make a difference. Traffic crashes are the 9th leading cause of death in the world and are the number one cause of death for people from the ages of 15 to 29.

We know this is a public health challenge with clear solutions. And we know what works: safer road infrastructure, smarter traffic laws, and stronger enforcement of those laws. That’s why, since 2007, Bloomberg Philanthropies has been working to help other cities and countries adopt these measures.

We’ve been working in ten low- and middle-income countries that together account for more than half of the world’s road deaths. Last year, we expanded this work with a new focus on cities in developing countries – where populations are growing fast, along with the number of cars on the road.

At a joint press conference today, the World Health Organization’s Dr. Margaret Chan and Bloomberg Philanthropies founder Mike Bloomberg shared key findings from the Global status report on road safety 2015. It presents information on road safety from 180 countries, accounting for almost 97 percent of the world’s population. The report indicates that worldwide the total number of road traffic deaths remains steady – but unacceptably high – at 1.25 million per year.

The fact is, these deaths are preventable. This report, the third in the series, serves as a tool to assess the impact of changes three years in to the WHO’s Decade of Action on Road Safety and to highlight where more action is needed.

For additional information on today’s report, visit: