Saving lives through road safety risk factor interventions: global and national estimates

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Lancet (London, England)




Global road mortality is a leading cause of death in many low-income and middle-income countries. Data to support priority setting under current resource constraints are urgently needed to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.6. This Series paper estimates the potential number of lives saved if each country implemented interventions to address risk factors for road injuries. We did a systematic review of all available evidence-based, preventive interventions for mortality reduction that targeted the four main risk factors for road injuries (ie, speeding, drink driving, helmet use, and use of seatbelt or child restraint). We used literature review variables and considered three key country-level variables (gross domestic product per capita, population density, and government effectiveness) to generate country-specific estimates on the potential annual attributable number of lives that would be saved by interventions focusing on these four risk factors in 185 countries. Our results suggest that the implementation of evidence-based road safety interventions that target the four main road safety risk factors could prevent between 25% and 40% of all fatal road injuries worldwide. Interventions addressing speed could save about 347 258 lives globally per year, and at least 16 304 lives would be saved through drink driving interventions. The implementation of seatbelt interventions could save about 121 083 lives, and 51 698 lives could be saved by helmet interventions. We identify country-specific estimates of the potential number of lives saved that would be attributable to these interventions. Our results show the potential effectiveness of the implementation and scaling of these interventions. This paper presents key evidence for priority setting on road safety interventions and shows a path for reaching SDG 3.6.


Global Health