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“Road safety is not a transportation challenge, it’s a public health crisis that must be addressed.”

Statement from José Luis Castro, President and CEO of Vital Strategies, on UN Global Road Safety Week 2021

Everyone deserves safe streets, but not everyone has access to them. Globally, road traffic crashes are the single leading cause of death for people ages 5 to 29—claiming 1.35 million lives and causing an additional 50 million injuries each year. Road safety is not just a transportation challenge—it’s a public health crisis that must be addressed.

A major risk factor for road traffic crashes is speeding. Speed is directly related to the possibility of crashes and severity of consequences when a crash occurs. It is a deadly issue across the world—an increase in average speed of just 1km/h increases the likelihood of a fatal crash by 4-5%. During Global Road Safety Week, Vital Strategies joins the United Nations’ call to action urging governments to establish and enforce a 30 km/h (20 mph) speed limit in areas where people, cyclists and vehicles mix. This proven and widely supported strategy can swiftly reduce road traffic deaths, and make our streets safer, more accessible and livable for all. Today, 3,700 people around the world will die from preventable traffic crashes. There is no time to waste.

As we embark on the Second Decade of Action for Road Safety, Vital Strategies is continuing our work with governments to achieve the U.N.’s goal of halving traffic deaths by 2030. Through initiatives like the Partnership for Healthy Cities and the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety, we are working with local and national leaders to implement proven road safety interventions. This includes improving data collection and analysis, strengthening legislation, and using communication and advocacy strategies to change road user behavior such as speeding, drink driving, lack of helmet use, and lack of seat-belt use.

Progress on road safety is possible in every country. With strong political will, collaboration and evidence-driven solutions, we can work to give every person access to safe streets.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. We work with governments and civil society in 73 countries to design and implement evidence-based strategies that tackle their most pressing public health problems. Our goal is to see governments adopt promising interventions at scale as rapidly as possible. To find out more, please visit or Twitter @VitalStrat.