Road traffic accidents are considered to be the second highest cause of mortality in Iran. A study was conducted to describe road-traffic-related mortality data in Iran in a given period. All Iranian mortality data on road traffic accidents between March 1999 and 2000 (one complete Iranian calendar year) were obtained. The main variables studied were deceased's gender, age, education level, status (i.e. driver, car occupant, etc.), cause and place of death. A total of 15?482 individuals died from road traffic accidents in Iran in the study period. A disproportionate number of deceased individuals were male (79%), mostly aged 40 years or less (65%), and who were pedestrians or car occupants (62%). Head injury was the most common cause of road-traffic-related mortality (66%) in males and females of all ages. Following road traffic accidents, 57% of deaths occurred pre-hospital. Head injury is the most common single cause of mortality attributable to road traffic accidents in Iran, and since most deaths occur pre-hospital, it seems many are preventable. To overcome this major public health problem, there is an urgent need to develop a comprehensive injury control policy and strategy in Iran.