Every year, more than 1.3 million people die on the roads globaly. This means there are 3,700 daily deaths. Additionally, no less than 50 million people suffer injuries caused by road traffic crashes, with speed contributing to the severity of all traffic crashes, according to the WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018.
Setting speed limits in urban areas is key. As the average speed increases, the probability of an accident and its severity of its consequences also increases. While a pedestrian has less than a 20% chance of dying if he/she is hit by a car traveling at less than 50 kilometers per hour, this risk increases to almost 60% at 80 kilometers per hour. It is estimated that "a 5% reduction in average speed can reduce the number of deaths by 30%".
In the Americas, road traffic deaths are the second leading cause of mortality in young adults aged 15 to 29 years, according to PAHO's Status Report on Road Safety in the Region of the Americas. Nearly half of all traffic injury deaths in the Region are motorcyclists (23%), pedestrians (22%), and cyclists (3%).
At the same time, road crashes have economic consequences. It is estimated that in younger age groups, the disproportionate consequences of crashes cost countries approximately 3% of their gross domestic product (GDP).