Violence and Injury Prevention

WHO releases report on Youth and Road Safety ahead of First UN Global Road Safety Week

21 April 2007

Each year, almost 400,000 young people under 25 years old are killed in a road traffic crash - about 1049 youngsters every day. Most of these tragic deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, particularly among pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and those using public transport.

Young road users are at risk for road traffic injuries for a number of reasons:

  • insufficient consideration of their specific needs when roads are being planned;
  • physical and developmental characteristics that increase their risk, for example, the small stature of young children;
  • risk taking behaviour and peer pressure particularly among adolescents; and
  • other risk factors such as speeding, drink-driving, not using helmets or not wearing seat-belts.

Preventing this growing public health and development problem from getting worse means addressing these issues. However, as children are not small versions of adults, simply reproducing safe adult strategies will not protect them sufficiently. Various development factors make the task of protecting young road users more complicated.

A new document Youth and Road Safety launched by WHO ahead of the First UN Global Road Safety Week addresses many of these issues.

To order a hardcopy of the Report please send an email to

Download the report

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