Global Health Observatory (GHO) data

Interventions to reduce road traffic injuries: reducing speed

Situation and trends

Speed is a critical risk factor for road traffic injuries. Of the 180 participating countries, 97 set maximum urban speed limits of less than or equal to 50 km/h in line with the best practice. It is important that local authorities not only have the legal authority to reduce national limits, but also to manage local speeds according to particular road situations and in conjunction with other traffic calming or speed management policies. However, only 88 of the 180 participating countries allow local authorities to reduce national speed limits.

Additionally, only 47 countries meet both legislative criteria for best practice on urban speed management – a national urban maximum speed limit of 50 km/h, and local authority power to reduce this limit to ensure safe speeds locally. Of these 47 countries, 24 are high-income, suggesting that speed management has a long way to go in the countries where it is most needed.

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