Global Road Safety

Road traffic crashes are the world’s leading cause of death for children and young adults 5–29 years of age.1 Road traffic injuries result in as many as 50 million injuries per year—which exceeds the combined population of the world’s two largest cities.1,2

Throughout the world, roads are shared by cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds, pedestrians, animals, taxis, and other travelers. Travel made possible by motor vehicles supports economic and social development in many countries. Yet each year, these vehicles are involved in crashes that are responsible for 1.35 million deaths and up to 50 million injuries.1

Whether you’re on the road at home or abroad, know the risks and take steps to protect your health and safety.

CDC Vital Signs: About 90 people die each day in the US from crashes - resulting in the highest death rate among comparison countries. #VitalSigns

CDC Vital Signs: US crash deaths fell 31% compared to an average of 56% in 19 other high-income countries from 2000-2013. #VitalSigns

CDC Vital Signs: Over 18,000 lives could be saved each year if US crash deaths equaled the average rate of 19 other high-income countries. #VitalSigns

Steps for Road Safety At Home and Abroad3

  • Always use a seat belt on every trip, no matter how short. Be sure to buckle up whether you are in the front seat or the back seat of the vehicle.
  • Make sure children are always properly buckled in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt that is appropriate for their age, height, and weight, and make sure they are buckled in the back seat of the vehicle.
  • Always wear a helmet when driving or riding on motorcycles, motorbikes, or bicycles.
  • Do not drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs, and avoid riding with a driver who is impaired.
  • Obey speed limits.
  • Drive without distractions. For example, don’t use a cell phone or text while driving.
  • Be alert when crossing streets, especially in countries where motorists drive on the left side of the road.
  • Ride only in marked taxis, and try to ride in taxis that have seat belts.
  • Avoid riding in overcrowded, overweight, or top-heavy buses or minivans.
  • Check the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) website for information about driving hazards and road safety risks by country.
  • For more information about road safety, overall safety, and security in every country of the world, visit the country information page on the U.S. Department of State website.

Each day, almost 3,700 people are killed globally in road traffic crashes involving cars, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, trucks, or pedestrians. More than half of those people killed in crashes are pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists.

Each year, 1.35 million people die on the world’s roads. Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among children and young adults aged 5–29 years.


  1. World Health Organization (WHO). Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018. December 2018 [cited 2019 April 8]. Available from URL: icon
  2. WorldAtlas. The 10 Largest Cities in the World. [cited 2019 April 12]. Available from URL: icon
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CD). CDC Health Information for International Travel (Yellow Book). Chapter 2 – Injury Prevention. 2017. [cited 2019 April 10]. Available from URL:

CDC Vital Signs: Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths. In 2013, the US crash death rate was more than twice the average of other high-income countries.