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New World Bank Report Reveals Cost of Inaction in Preventing Road Deaths and Injuries

(New York, USA) – Road crashes are the leading single cause of death and disability among people aged 15-29 years.  Deaths and long-term disability related to road crashes primarily impact people of prime working age (between 15-64 years old) making the economic burden – and potential gain – significant.  A new study estimates that five low and middle income countries could realize welfare benefits equivalent to 6 percent to 32 percent of the national GDP by reducing 50 percent of road deaths and injuries over a period of 24 years, between 2014 and 2038.

Vital Strategies congratulates the World Bank for revealing the potential economic and social welfare costs of inaction in reducing road traffic injuries and fatalities in low- and middle income countries in its new report, The High Toll of Traffic Injuries: Unacceptable and Preventable, and congratulates Bloomberg Philanthropies for its role in supporting the study.

“Road safety poses a serious economic, health and social welfare challenge worldwide – particularly in low- and middle-income countries,” said José Luis Castro, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vital Strategies. “As cities continue to grow at a rapid pace, governments must take action on improving road safety through strong laws and infrastructure, coupled with strategic communication campaigns and other best practice measures. As this new report suggests, inaction is too costly. Vital Strategies is proud to work hand-in-hand with cities in implementing proven strategies to improve road safety, and support initiatives like the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety.”

LMICs account for 90 percent of the over 1.25 million road traffic deaths around the globe each year, despite accounting for only 54 percent of the world’s registered vehicles. Lack of data around economic impact at the national level has proven difficult for policymakers across sectors to recognize road traffic as a socioeconomic burden. According the publication, The High Toll of Traffic Injuries: Unacceptable and Preventable is one of the first systematic efforts to estimate both the potential economic benefits and aggregate social welfare gains of reducing road traffic injuries in low- and middle income countries, and brings to bear the cost of inaction in failing to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goal target to halving road deaths by 2020.

Vital Strategies is an implementing partner of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety, working with 10 cities around the globe to reduce road deaths and injuries through evidence-based interventions to save lives. Learn more about our Road Safety program.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit or Twitter @VitalStrat.

For further information or to arrange an interview with a Vital Strategies public health expert, please contact