Global road deaths
The World Health Organisation (WHO) mortality estimates indicate that crashes are already the leading cause of death to young adults (15-29 year olds) around the world. And the situation is expected to worsen, with road deaths increasing over the next twenty years. RoadPeace has updated its briefing on Global road deaths, using the WHO global mortality estimates which compares different causes of death, the age groups affected and the gobal distribution.
Of the total 59 million deaths in 2008, crashes accounted for over 1.4 million (2%). This is more than tuberculosis and almost 50% more than malaria, and over 60% of the deaths by HIV/AIDS. On average, males are nearly three times more likely to be killed than females.
It is not only the sheer number of deaths caused by crashes that is significant, but also the ages involved, with crashes striking down young adults. Seven out of ten road deaths occur to those aged between 15 and 59 years old, the most active group in society and the group with the greatest numbers of dependents.
Worse to come
Although road crashes are already a leading cause of death, it is anticipated that the numbers will rise. Between 2008 and 2030, overall road deaths will increase by 52% .
This increase will not be uniform. In Europe road deaths are expected to follow recent trends and decrease. By 2030, only one in 40 road deaths will occur in Europe, less than half its current share. Elsewhere, increasing levels of motorisation could produce the greatest rise in Africa, with road road deaths projected to more than double (128%). Road deaths are also projected to increase in the Mediterranean (71%) and South East Asia (68%).
Before 2030, road crashes will kill more people than HIV/AIDS.
Beyond road crashes
And the true toll from motor vehicles is even higher, if the associated deaths from air pollution and sedentary life style diseases are considered. If we counted traffic related deaths, as opposed to road traffic deaths, the mortality count would be much greater.