Each year, there are over 1.2 million people killed in road crashes around the world, and 20-50 times that number suffer from serious injuries. These devastating road deaths and injuries are a mounting problem, particularly developing countries. Currently, 3,300 deaths and over 66,000 serious injuries occur each day from road crashes, affecting lives of not only the victims, but also those close to and also perhaps financially dependent upon them. Learn more about the problem.
To learn about some successful road safety programs in regions such as Bogota, Columbia, Costa Rica, Vietnam, and Sweden, and to find out how some countries are engaged in multi-sector initiatives, read stories from the field. This section also includes a perspective from TRL advisor Goff Jacobs, who has spent more than 30 years researching this problem.


The Global Road Safety Steering Committee has been working closely with Ambassador Al-Hinai, Oman’s Permanent Representative to the UN, and has brought together global players together to raise awareness and build political will. As a direct result of these efforts, the United Nations held two historic meetings on April 14th and 15th 2004, specifically to address the global road safety crisis. These included a General Assembly meeting dedicated to road safety and a Stakeholders’ Forum to include societal sectors worldwide.

On October 1, 2004, Dr. Mark Rosenberg, on behalf of the the Global Road Safety Steering Committee, handed Dr. Jong-wook Lee a copy of The Global Road Safety Crisis: We Should Do Much More that documents the recent global road safety activities at the UN—the General Assembly meeting on April 14 and the Stakeholders Forum on April 15—as well as events leading up to the UN meetings, including two technical briefings, World Health Day and the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention.

UN General Assembly Meeting, New York City, April 14, 2004

In the first meeting, twenty-seven speakers from each corner of the globe addressed The General Assembly. Speakers such as World Health Organization Director-General, Dr. Jong-Wook Lee, Ireland Transport Minister, Mr. Seamus Brennan, U.S. Transportation Secretary, Mr. Norman Mineta, and impassioned leaders of governments voiced a collective commitment to change conditions to reduce road traffic injuries. Yousef bin Alwai bin Abdullah, the Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs of Oman introduced a Resolution designating a UN focal point for road safety. With over 60 co-sponsors, this resolution was adopted by consensus, without requiring a vote. (more: UN Meeting summary, speakers, press release, photos, webcast).

UN Press Conference, New York City, April 14, 2004

A press conference was held with Dr. Jong-Wook Lee, Director-General of the World Health Organization; Dr. Jeffrey W. Runge, Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, and Karla Gonzalez, former Vice-Minister of Transport, Costa Rica. (more: summary, photos, )

United Nations Stakeholders’ Forum, New York City, April 15, 2004

The Task Force for Child Survival and Development worked with Oman Ambassador Al-Hinai, UN officials, the Steering Committee and other key players to produce this special meeting. The Forum included road safety stakeholders from government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, and others expected to take a lead role in global road safety solutions. Panels and audience members discussed the impact of the newly adopted resolution, the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention, and future initiatives. (more: meeting summary, speakers, participant list, UN webcast, photos)

United Nations Technical Briefing, New York City, March 24, 2004

Prior to the April 2004 road safety meetings, United Nations members were briefed on the global impact of road traffic injuries and initiatives to address the issues. Click here for photos from the most recent technical briefing, March 24, 2004, and here to access the materials from a previous briefing held on May 29, 2003 at the United Nations.


This year the annual World Health Day celebration, led by the World Health Organization, focused on Road Safety. A global launch from Paris, France, included speeches from French President Jacque Chirac, FIA Foundation Director General David Ward, and other leaders in government and civil society. Hundreds of organizations around the world hosted events to raise awareness about road traffic injuries and their grave impact on families, communities, and the economy.

On April 7, the World Health Organization and The World Bank jointly launched the World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention. This report contains regional data showing the problem and the projections for a dramatic increase in deaths and injuries unless interventions are made. It concludes with recommendations from experts in the field. The report is available in six languages, and may be downloaded by section or in its entirety.