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Feature Public Health

Road injuries: tackling the leading killer of young people

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 01 February 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l479
  1. Joanne Silberner, freelance journalist
  1. London
  1. joanne.silberner{at}

Worldwide progress in cutting avoidable deaths involving road traffic is stalling, and poorer countries such as Thailand must enforce evidence based measures to reduce them, Joanne Silberner reports

At the start of every year, local and international media cover a major public health problem in Thailand: road traffic deaths. This year’s contribution from the Guardian was, “463 killed in collisions on Thailand roads in new year’s week.”1

But the 66 deaths daily during these “seven dangerous days” are not much more than at other times of the year. Thailand had about 22 000 road deaths in 2016, an average of 60 a day. Road safety campaigners may welcome the annual attention, but their wish list for change includes coverage all year round.

These data are from the 2018 Global Status Report on Road Safety,2 issued by the World Health Organization in December. It found that the number of deaths worldwide among motorcyclists, pedestrians, cyclists, and people in cars is slowly rising, reaching 1.35 million in 2016, the latest year for which data are available. Worldwide, road deaths are now the leading killer of …

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