Violence and Injury Prevention

A 5-year WHO strategy for road traffic injury prevention

ISBN 92 4 1590327

Introduction

Road Traffic Injuries (RTIs) are the leading cause of death by injury, the 10th leading cause of all deaths and the 9th leading contributor to the burden of disease world wide. They constitute a rapidly growing problem, with deaths from injuries projected to rise from 5.1 million in 1990 to 8.4 million in 2020. Rapid urbanization and motorization in developing countries will account for much of the rise and the rise will be steeper due to lack of appropriate road engineering and lack of injury prevention programs in the public health sector.

In comparison to the magnitude of the problem in developing countries there has been relatively little study on road traffic collisions and their consequences. There appears to be little awareness of their contribution to the burden of disease, so they are seriously neglected in research and policy. This is true at both the national and international levels. The lack of scientifically based epidemiological, economic and risk factor data from the national level, most especially from developing countries, has inhibited the response of international agencies. As a first step towards addressing the whole RTI problem, accurate data are needed at the national level for deciding national health priorities, planning prevention strategies to decrease the incidence of RTIs, monitoring trends over time, and evaluating the impact of interventions.

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