Prevention of Injuries and Violence

Road traffic crashes are a leading cause of deaths and disabilities worldwide and represent a major public health issue at the global level. Each year, over 1.27 million people worldwide die on the world's roads and 20-50 million are injured in road crashes. Globally, poorer population groups bear a disproportionate burden of avoidable morbidity and mortality from road traffic injuries. The distribution of road traffic injuries is generally influenced by socio-economic factors and other social and environmental determinants of health.*

Almost half of those who perish on the world's roads are pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists**, and more than 90% are in low- and middle-income countries.

* - Nantulya VM, Reich MR. The neglected epidemic: road traffic injuries in developing countries. BMJ 2002; 324: 1139-41

** - World Health Organization (2009) Global Status Report on Road Safety. Accessed on 14 August 2012, (here).


Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are now the first cause of morbidity and mortality in most countries. In the recent UN Assembly (2011) dedicated to NCD a Political Declaration urged the necessary inclusion of NCDs on the political agenda of all countries globally. However, injuries were yet to be part of the discussions.

But in this fight to reduce NCDs we cannot forget that injuries accounted for 9% of the world's deaths in 2000 and 12% of the world's burden of disease ( and that more than 90% of the world's deaths from injuries occur in low- and middle-income countries, with road traffic injuries being the leading cause of injury-related deaths worldwide.

Ignoring injury prevention as an important strategy for health promotion and public health means omitting a key part of the NCD problem. Particularly if one realizes that many of the injuries and their consequences on health could be avoidable through the application of specific targeted programs and that injuries largely remain an equity and development issue.


This dimension of work aims to :

  • advance knowledge around and raise the profile of road safety and injury prevention in a broader Health Promotion agenda and through an equity lens;

  • ensure injury prevention is considered a key strategy for addressing Non-Communicable Diseases globally and more specifically in low and middle income countries;

  • develop youth safety advocates to promote road safety globally;

  • contribute to global road safety promotion with a special focus on road safety efforts in low and middle-income countries;

  • contribute to the achievement of the Decade of Action for Road Safety goals from a health promotion and equity perspective;

  • support advocacy efforts and create partnerships for law change towards global compulsory use of helmet for motorcyclist drivers and passengers.



Supporting students/young professionals from a low or middle income country to attend key international events through contribution to the Bill Kane Health Equity Fellowship


The project, under the Bill Kane Health Equity Fellowship programme, supported:

  • the bursary of a young professional from a low or middle income country working on the Prevention of Injuries and Violence and demonstrating leadership in improving health equity for all, to participate in and present their work in Geneva, Switzerland on the occasion of the 20th IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion which took place in July 2010; and

  • the attendance of a young and promising professional to the IUHPE 5th Latin American and 4th Inter American Conference on Health Promotion and Education that took place in Mexico in April 2012 to launch the Youth and Road Safety Action Kit produced by YOURS in collaboration with the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) with the technical support of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Supporting road safety efforts globally


Contributing to the evaluation of the Global Helmet Vaccine Initiative in Cambodia and Uganda

Deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes are a major and growing public health problem in the developing world. Worldwide, 1.27 million people are killed and 20-50 million injured in road crashes every year-almost half of them are pedestrians, motorcycles and bicyclists, and more than 90% of them are in low and middle income countries.

The Global Helmet Vaccine Initiative (GHVI) is a coalition that was established in 2009 by the Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation, with support from the FIA Foundation, the World Bank, and others. The GHVI is built from the successful experience of helmet distribution, public education programs and progressive legislation in Vietnam which resulted in a 90% increase in helmet use on motorcycles in Vietnam.

This project is part of a larger effort to expand the GHVI in pilot countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America to encourage the policy changes and investment decisions that lead to increased and sustainable motorcycle helmet wearing.

The IUHPE, with active involvement of its Global Working group on Surveillance (WARFS) actively supports the evaluation and surveillance of the expansion of the Global Helmet Vaccine Initiative (GHVI) in Cambodia (with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Handicap International Belgium (HIB) and the John Hopkins School of Public Health) and Uganda (with the Injury Control Center Uganda).

More details are available here.


Supporting the evaluation and dissemination of best practices in Road Safety in Uruguay

The Road Safety Plan for Children - EDU-CAR, implemented by the Gonzalo Rodríguez Memorial Foundation (GRMF), works for the protection of today's children and their education as tomorrow's drivers, promoting a cultural change that values and respects safe practices in traffic. Their 3-year plan is aligned with global recommendations for Road Safety.

The IUHPE supports the ongoing evaluation of the EDU-CAR campaign through:

  • data collection of the post-campaign as a way of evaluating and monitoring the impact of the public campaign and

  • development of a Best Practices Manual, which can be distributed in Latin America and the Caribbean to assist in the diffusion of this pilot project conducted in Uruguay. This document is available for download in Spanish and in English.


Support Youth Delegates' efforts & Build capacity of a Youth NGO (YOURS)

More than 400,000 of the victims killed on the roads are young people (aged 10-24 years) making road traffic crashes the leading cause of death among young people globally. Unless more comprehensive global action is taken, the number of deaths and injuries is likely to rise significantly.

The IUHPE supported the development of youth delegates' in the field through supporting Youth for Road Safety (YOURS), a global youth-led NGO for road safety that acts to keep young people safe on the worlds' roads, to develop a tool kit to introduce young individuals and organizations to the road safety field particularly youth issues and to motivate them to become actively involved.

YOURS, launched on the occasion of the First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety hosted by the Government of the Russian Federation on November 19th -20th 2009, believes that it is young people themselves who can be at the forefront of making a difference and wants to support young people in their road safety initiatives.

To achieve this goal, YOURS:

  • advocates for youth-related road safety issues nationally, regionally and especially globally;

  • connects young people and youth NGOs active in the road safety field around the world, so they can work together and easily share information and experiences;

  • builds capacity among youth in the field of road safety.

In 2012, as a result of an ongoing collaboration with CDC and IUHPE, Youth for Road Safety (YOURS) finalised the development of a tool kit for young people who want to start getting engaged in road safety efforts launched on April 16th, 2012. Youth and Road Safety Action Kit aims to introduce young individuals and organisations to road safety, particularly youth issues, and provide the knowledge they need to implement road safety activities.

Read the final product.


Contributing to raising awareness of reality of road traffic crashes in Latin America

In 2013, the Association for Safe International Travel (ASIRT), in collaboration with the IUHPE and the Gonzalo Rodriguez Memorial Foundation, developed a publication, FACES in Latin America, that presents first-hand accounts of the impact of road traffic crashes on victims, their families and communities. This publication is based on a similar publication, Faces behind the figures, developed jointly with the World Health Organization, and launched during Global Road Safety Week in 2007.

The idea is that the publication provides a framework for civil society involvement in road safety efforts in their respective countries and is used by road safety NGOs to raise awareness of the social and economic magnitude and impact of road crashes in Latin America. This resource also contributes to raising awareness of key stakeholders, policy and decision makers on the need to address key risk factors; energizing victims and civil society groups; and encouraging the enactment of effective, proven interventions, including post-crash and disability support for injured survivors and their families.

The FACES in Latin America publication is available in Spanish.


Developing guidelines for country road safety engagement to improve global road safety towards equitable and sustainable development

In 2013, the World Bank, in collaboration with the IUHPE, CDC, and Global Road Safety Facility (GRSF), developed guidelines Improving Global Road Safety: Towards Equitable and Sustainable Development - Guidelines for Country Road Safety Engagement as a key tool to assist the identification, preparation and implementation of multilateral development bank investment projects designed to improve country road safety performance and to encourage stronger linkages between the health and transport sectors.

These guidelines were adapted from a report of the Argentina Road Safety Project case study exemplifying the innovative application of the new guidelines.

The new guidelines are available for download in ENGLISH and SPANISH.


Read the summary of IUHPE activities on Global Road Safety


The production of this web page and some activities described below have received financial support from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an Agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, under Cooperative Agreement Number CDC RFA DP07-708 on Building Capacity of Developing Countries to Prevent non-Communicable Diseases with the International Union for Health Promotion and Education. The contents of this website are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.