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Children and youth at risk

brake children and youth at risk

It is a source of global shame that the people most likely to die on roads are young.

  • About 17 classrooms of young people are killed every day (500 young people).
  • Road crashes are the biggest killer of people aged 15 to 29.
  • Road crashes are also a significant cause of death and injury to younger children, often making their way to or from school.
  • Children in our cities are often forced to breathe polluted air, contributed to significantly by heavy traffic, and causing respiratory disease.
  • 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 and take action

Learn more about the three crises on our roads>

Get involved in our Vision Zero campaign for a world of safe, sustainable, healthy and fair transport.  Vision Zero campaign>

 Watch a Luc Besson video in support of the #Save Kids' Lives campaign.

Source of statistics: World Health Organisation