Objective: In 1998, road traffic injuries were estimated to be the 9th leading cause of loss of healthy life globally and are projected to become the 3rd leading cause by 2020. The majority of this burden can be located in the developing world where most of the projected increase will occur. Yet health systems are least prepared to meet this challenge in these countries. At the same time, there are effective interventions for road traffic injuries being implemented in the developed world. An extensive review of the literature reveals more than 16 different interventions in four categories that have been implemented. Renewed testing of these and new interventions will take both time and funds--resources that are scarce in developing countries. As a result, it is imperative to study the effectiveness of those interventions already tested and attempt to evaluate their potential implementation in developing countries.
Method: Literature review to identify effective interventions and the magnitude of the effects.
Results: Four broad classes of interventions can be identified from the literature; health education/awareness, legislation, product design and environmental modifications.
Conclusion: The issues for the developing countries are affordable, infrastructure and sociocultural in implementation of these strategies. The road traffic injuries are also underreported and hence under represented at the priority setting stage. Road safety should be high on the agenda as it can save a lot of lives and disability. Public health professionals should assess and advocate road safety in developing countries.