WHO releases Tips to stay safe on the Road (24 December 2018)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently released tips to stay safe on the roads in the new year.

Background Information:

Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29 years.

Approximately 1.35 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes.

Road traffic crashes cost most countries 3% of their gross domestic product.

More than half of all road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.

93% of the world’s fatalities on the roads occur in low- and middle-income countries, even though these countries have approximately 60% of the world’s vehicles.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has set an ambitious target of halving the global number of deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes by 2020.

Key Messages:

Always wear a seatbelt

You have a vastly greater chance of surviving a collision if you wear a seatbelt, which reduce the risk of death by as much as 60%.

Every passenger in the car should wear a seatbelt for every trip – no matter where you are going or how short this trip is.

WHO also recommends

  • age-appropriate child restraints for children under 4 years and
  • booster seats for older children up to ten years of age or 135 cm tall. 

Restrict alcohol use

Alcohol is a leading risk factor for injuries, and should never be mixed with road travel.

Even low levels of alcohol consumption are associated with considerably increased risks – whether you are on foot, on two wheels or four.

It is always safest not to drink but if you do, say within recommended limits; or best still, make sure to arrange alternative transport for you and your family.

Wear a helmet

In many low-income and middle-income countries, motorcyclists and cyclists make up more than half of those injured or killed on the roads, with head injuries the main cause of death.

If you’re involved in a crash, correct helmet use – including for the bike driver and any passenger – can give you up to a 40% better chance of survival.

Correct helmet use means

  • ensuring that you are wearing it at all times when on the road.
  • must fit and be fastened correctly, so that it will give the best possible protection when it’s needed.

Watch your speed (Control your speed)

Excessive or inappropriate speed contributes to 1 in 3 road traffic deaths.

The greater your speed, the higher the risk of a crash… and the more likely it is that this crash will cost someone their life.

With an impact speed of 80 km/h, the likelihood of death in a crash is 20 times what it would be at an impact speed of 30 km/h. 

Avoid distractions

There are many types of distractions that can lead to impaired driving, but the distraction caused by mobile phones is a particular and growing concern.

Drivers using mobile phones are approximately four times more likely to be involved in a crash.

Hands-free phones are not much safer and if you are texting, the risk increases by more than twenty-fold.

Ensure your phone is on silent and out of reach when you are on the road.

Useful Links:

Link to WHO release:


Link to WHO’s video on road safety:


Link to WHO’s interactive map ‘Death on the roads’:



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