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The Surprising Top Killer of Young Adults

Road Safety volunteers paint a sign onto the road encouraging drivers to following the 20 kilometer per hour speed limit in a school zone in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Vital Strategies and BIGRS staff joined Buenos Aires officials and volunteers in a tactical urbanism activity for the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, painting “respect speed” to encourage drivers to follow the 20km/h limit in a school zone.

Road traffic crashes are a global public health crisis, claiming around 1.3 million lives each year and causing another 20 to 50 million injuries. For children and young people aged 5 to 29, crashes are the leading cause of death worldwide. These are preventable tragedies that demand immediate action.

Vital Strategies partners with governments around the world as an implementing partner in the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), carrying out proven interventions to make streets safer and save lives on the world’s roads.

We do this in three key ways:

  • Strengthening road safety surveillance: We help governments and decision-makers understand the key causes of road traffic crashes through improved surveillance and data collection, then support them to use that data to improve policy and take action.
  • Using strategic communication to change road user behavior and social norms: We guide strategic communication, including mass media campaigns and media engagement, to change road user behavior. Campaigns address the consequences of dangerous behavior, with a special focus on speeding. We also work with crash victims and family members to share their stories.
  • Coordinating global partners and government agencies: Within BIGRS, we serve as the main liaison between the initiative’s multiple partners to align efforts. We also support the creation of government road safety plans that incorporate global best practices, tangible targets and monitoring tools.

The ultimate goal of these efforts is to ensure that every person worldwide has access to safe streets.

By implementing a multifaceted approach, governments and communities can effectively eliminate preventable deaths on the road. Through legislation, improved road user behaviors, enhanced infrastructure, and heightened vehicle safety standards, the combined efforts of BIGRS and Vital Strategies are creating safer environments for all road users.

Explore some of our road safety mass media campaigns below and here.


This campaign ran in Argentina and tells the true story of a mother whose son was killed as a result of speeding.

This campaign from the city of Salvador, Brazil, shows the consequences of speeding and urges motorcyclists to follow the speed limit.

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