Indicator 25. Road traffic deaths per 100,000 population

Rationale and definition:

This indicator measures road safety and is the rate of road traffic fatalities per 100,000 population. Road traffic injuries are a major health and development challenge: they are the eighth overall cause of death globally, and the leading cause of death for youth aged 15-29.1  On current trends road traffic fatalities may become the fifth leading cause of death by 2030.


WHO tracks deaths of pedestrians, cyclists, drivers of 4-wheeled vehicles, drivers of 2- or 3- wheeled motorized vehicles, and other. Information should be disaggregated further by geography, including rural/urban, to target solutions.

Comments and limitations:

In a context of expanding road networks and traffic, such as in many LMICs, an increase in the number of road traffic deaths per 100,000 may only reflect the fact that more individuals are exposed to this risk. Therefore some have argued that this indicator should be measured per vehicle-kilometer. The challenge with this alternate measure is the lack of available data.

Preliminary assessment of current data availability by Friends of the Chair:


Primary data source:

Civil registration and vital statistics.

Potential lead agency or agencies:

WHO, UN-Habitat.

  1. WHO (2013e). Global status report on road safety.