WHO Releases Road Safety Report 2018

The World Health Organization released Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018 today. Highlights are below.

From the Foreword by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO:

But road traffic crashes are not “accidents”. They are completely preventable. This report shows that the problem is getting worse. Deaths from road traffic crashes have increased to 1.35 million a year. That’s nearly 3 700 people dying on the world’s roads every day.

Tens of millions more are injured or disabled every year, people who suffer life-altering injuries with longlasting effects. These losses take a huge toll on families and communities. The cost of emergency response, health care and human grief is immense. There are many reasons for this trend: rapid urbanization, poor safety standards, lack of enforcement, people driving distracted or fatigued, others under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding and a failure to wear seat-belts or helmets.

One of the most heart-breaking statistics in this report is that road traffic injury is the leading cause of death for people aged between 5 and 29 years. No child should die or be seriously injured while they walk, cycle or play.

From the Executive Summary:

Strengthening legislation to mitigate key risk factors is recognized by the majority of governments as an important strategy to improve road safety, as evidenced by the 149 countries that have designated lead agencies with responsibilities that include enacting and assessing traffic laws. While too many countries still lack legislation that appropriately addresses risks such as speeding, drink-driving, the use of helmets, seat-belts and child restraints, since 2014 progress has been made in a number of these areas. Overall 22 additional countries have amended their laws on one or more risk factors to bring them in line with best practice. This translates to an additional one billion people who are now covered by effective road traffic laws. Of the 175 countries participating in this report, 123 have road traffic laws that meet best practice for one or more key risk factors. During this review period, ten additional countries (45 in total) have aligned with best practice on drink-driving legislation, five additional countries (49 in total) on motorcycle helmet use, four additional countries (33 in total) have aligned with best practice on the use of child restraint systems, and three additional countries (105 in total) on the use of seat-belts. Less progress has been made on adopting best practice on speed limits, despite the importance of speed as a major cause of death and serious injury.

Motorcycle ABS

In relation to the motorcycle anti-lock braking systems (ABS), a number of countries with high usage of motorcycles are or will be implementing regulations requiring the use of ABS or combined braking systems (CBS) for motorcycles. Most of the countries implementing these regulations require ABS systems for vehicles greater than 125cc; China and Brazil only require ABS for vehicles greater than 250cc and 300cc respectively, which means that a large number of motorcycles and e-bikes are excluded from this requirement. With the exception of Brazil, all have provisions to extend the ABS requirements for used motorcycles already in circulation, requiring them to be retrofitted, as well as for new motorcycles.


Ben Nussbaum
Ben Nussbaum

Ben Nussbaum, Chief Content Officer of The Brake Report, has more than 20 years experience in publishing. He was the founding editor for USA Today's line of special interest magazines and the founding editor for i5 Publishing's newsstand one-off magazine program. He lives outside Washington, D.C. Email him at [email protected].