Transport for health: the global burden of disease from motorized road transport

This report summarizes the findings of a long and meticulous journey of data gathering and analysis to quantify the health losses from road deaths and injuries worldwide, as part of the path-finding Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study. It is important, first, to acknowledge the profound contribution made by the lead authors and global team of injury prevention professionals to estimate the disease burden of road trauma, before absorbing their findings and recommendations. Without their dedication and tenacity, the way forward would be less certain. The first GBD study, published nearly two decades ago, signaled an emerging road safety crisis in developing regions of the world. It triggered a remarkable program of global advocacy that culminated in the United Nations decade of action for road safety and global plan to bring road safety outcomes under control in these regions by 2020. However, limited investment has been mobilized so far to implement the UN initiative.

The second GBD studies, and related analyses presented in this report, confirm the importance of road safety as a global development priority and the urgency with which it must be addressed. The report’s findings highlight the growth in road deaths and injuries globally, and their substantial impacts on maternal and child health, despite sustained reductions over the last three to four decades in high-income countries. Combined with the deaths arising from vehicle pollution, the road transport death toll exceeds that of, for example, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, or diabetes. This statistic further reinforces the call for global action. Without these GBD estimates we would not have a clear picture of the true situation because official country data in the developing world vastly understate the scale of road transport health losses.

The report can be downloaded at