Violence and injury prevention

Road traffic injuries

In the Western Pacific Region approximately 328 000 people are killed each year as a result of a road traffic crash. 64% of those dying on the Region’s roads are vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. Millions more suffer non-fatal injuries, with many incurring lifelong disability as a result of their injury. Road traffic injuries cause considerable economic losses to victims, their families and to nations. These losses arise from the cost of treatment (including rehabilitation and incident investigation) as well as reduced/lost productivity for those killed or disabled by their injuries, and for family members who need to take time off work (or school) to care for the injured. Despite the burden, road traffic injuries have been a neglected aspect of the regional public health and safety agenda for many years, yet they are predictable and largely preventable. Evidence from many countries shows that dramatic successes in preventing road traffic crashes, injuries and deaths can be achieved through the concerted efforts of stakeholders including the transport, police and health sectors.

The public health importance of road traffic injuries was reflected in its inclusion in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 3.6 calls for a 50% reduction in road traffic deaths and injuries by 2020.

WHO, in collaboration with the United Nations regional commissions, is the secretariat for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011–2020. It plays a key role in guiding global efforts by continuing to advocate for road safety at the highest political levels; compiling and disseminating good practices in prevention; sharing information with the public on risks and how to reduce them; and drawing attention to the need for increased funding. WHO monitors the impact of the Decade of Action via a series of Global status reports on road safety.

WHO also provides technical support to countries on the development and implementation of national road safety programmes, including social marketing and comprehensive legislation and enforcement for five major behavioural risk factors (speed, helmets, drink driving, seatbelts and child restraints). This approach is being successfully implemented through the participation of Cambodia, China, the Philippines and Viet Nam in the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety.

Featured publications

Regional Action Plan for Violence and Injury Prevention in the Western Pacific (2016–2020)

Road safety in the Western Pacific Region 2015

Violence in the Western Pacific Region 2014


Violence and Injury Prevention
Division of NCD and Health through the Life-Course
World Health Organization
Regional Office for the Western Pacific
P.O. Box 2932
1000 Manila