Children and youth at risk
It is a source of global shame that the people most likely to die on roads are young.
500 children are killed on roads worldwide. Every day.
That's about 17 classrooms of children dying, often while making their way to and from school. Every day.
Road crashes are the biggest killer of young people aged 15 to 29.
This is a daily catastrophe of the worst kind, that goes largely unreported in the world news. Yet it is the worst kind of death. Sudden, too soon and wholly unjust. It wrecks families and communities. Many more children suffer life-changing injuries, including head injury, paralysis, and limb loss.
Many of our children in the world's growing cities and towns are forced to breathe polluted air caused by traffic, causing respiratory diseases.
In the richest nations, fear of traffic leads to many children being driven, rather than walking or cycling, contributing to child obesity and early mortality. More than 40 million children are thought to be overweight or obese, with rates of obesity increasing particularly fast in low and middle-income countries.
A death of a child or young person is particularly devastating for families and communities. These deaths hit hardest in the poorest nations, where young people also make up a significant and vital part of the workforce.
What needs to be done?
Children and young people are vulnerable and inexperienced and must be protected. Governments must uphold the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child with regard to road safety and traffic pollution.
Children must be:
- given safe spaces to walk and cycle and explore the world around them with their loved ones and independently
- enabled to access an education and other facilities in their communities without fear of traffic
- have access to clean, unpolluted air, free from traffic fumes and noise
- given the opportunity to exercise, free from fear, and be healthy.
The good news is that children and young people can be powerful advocates for change. They can help lead campaigns for their rights to safe, sustainable, fair and healthy transport solutions, with the help of their schools, communities and parent-led groups.
Learn more about the three crises on our roads>
Watch a Luc Besson video in support of the #Save Kids' Lives campaign.
...and take action
Get involved in the Vision Zero campaign>
Take steps to make your community safer
Sign the #savekids lives 2020 action agenda
Source of statistics: World Health Organisation