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Global Road Safety Facts for Children | Safe Kids Worldwide


A growing epidemic of traffic injuries is devastating the next generation of children around the globe. 

  • Traffic collisions are the number one cause of death among children ages 5 to 19 in the United States and around the world.
  • More than 500 children are killed every day as a result of road traffic collisions, and tens of thousands are injured, often suffering lifelong disabilities.
  • Children living in poorer nations are most at risk. In fact, more than 90 percent of child road deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Unless we take action now, the global toll of traffic injuries will continue to grow, placing millions of children at risk.  

  • The number of vehicles on the road is expected to double worldwide by 2030. By 2025, the world's population is expected to reach 8 billion, and 58 percent of the world's population will live in urban areas. This means that more and more children and adults will be in harm’s way.
  • And by 2030, road traffic injuries among both children and adults are projected to surpass HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis as a cause of death worldwide.

Road traffic crashes are undermining the world economy and keeping millions in poverty.    

  • We are losing at least $500 billion USD per year as a result of road traffic collisions.
  • This keeps as many as 70 million people in poverty and increases costs for businesses worldwide.

Safety for children desperately needs immediate attention.

  • Only 17 percent of the world’s population are covered by an adequate child restraint law (that keeps small children in the back seat and requires child restraints based on the age, weight and height of the child).
  • Many nations do not have any laws requiring children to wear helmets while riding on motorcycles or bicycles, and enforcement is often lax.
  • The safety of pedestrians, school zones and school buses are overlooked in many communities or even entire nations, and thousands of children die each year on their way to and from school.

The United Nations, through the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety and the Global Goals, is leading an effort to improve road safety worldwide.

  • The UN Decade of Action for Road Safety is a worldwide effort to save 5 million lives on the roads between 2011 and 2020.
  • In September 2015, the United Nations approved the Sustainable Development Goals, or Global Goals, that are guideposts for future development throughout the world. For the first time, the Global Goals include specific targets for improved road safety:
    • By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents; and   
    • By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons.
  • At the 2nd Global High Level Conference on Road Safety in November 2015, participants adopted the Brasilia Declaration, which commits nations of the world to take strong steps to achieve these targets. 


We can prevent children from being killed or injured in traffic collisions, and we don’t need costly fixes to do it.

  • We already know what works. If we lower speed, increase the use of motorcycle and bike helmets, insist on seat belt use, crack down on drunk driving and reduce distraction, we can save millions of lives. We must pass comprehensive laws and back them up with tough enforcement.
  • But we must do more for the next generation. Children are not just small adults; they need special interventions to save their lives, such as correctly used child restraints and safety zones around schools. Now is the time to prioritize children in our response.

That is why we have launched the Safe Roads | Safe Kids campaign to focus on children and reduce preventable deaths and lifelong injuries resulting from traffic collisions. And that’s why we’re strongly supporting the 2020 Action Agenda, both of which are focused on ensuring policymakers worldwide respond to the epidemic of child deaths and injuries on our roads.

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Safe Roads | Safe Kids