[Evidence-based effectiveness of road safety interventions: a literature review]

Gac Sanit. 2009 Nov-Dec;23(6):553.e1-14. doi: 10.1016/j.gaceta.2009.04.006. Epub 2009 Nov 6.
[Article in Spanish]


Introduction: Only road safety interventions with scientific evidence supporting their effectiveness should be implemented. The objective of this study was to identify and summarize the available evidence on the effectiveness of road safety interventions in reducing road traffic collisions, injuries and deaths.

Methodology: All literature reviews published in scientific journals that assessed the effectiveness of one or more road safety interventions and whose outcome measure was road traffic crashes, injuries or fatalities were included. An exhaustive search was performed in scientific literature databases. The interventions were classified according to the evidence of their effectiveness in reducing road traffic injuries (effective interventions, insufficient evidence of effectiveness, ineffective interventions) following the structure of the Haddon matrix.

Results: Fifty-four reviews were included. Effective interventions were found before, during and after the collision, and across all factors: a) the individual: the graduated licensing system (31% road traffic injury reduction); b) the vehicle: electronic stability control system (2 to 41% reduction); c) the infrastructure: area-wide traffic calming (0 to 20%), and d) the social environment: speed cameras (7 to 30%). Certain road safety interventions are ineffective, mostly road safety education, and others require further investigation.

Conclusion: The most successful interventions are those that reduce or eliminate the hazard and do not depend on changes in road users' behavior or on their knowledge of road safety issues. Interventions based exclusively on education are ineffective in reducing road traffic injuries.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control*
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Equipment Design / standards
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Motor Vehicles / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Motor Vehicles / standards
  • Program Evaluation / statistics & numerical data
  • Safety / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Safety / standards
  • Safety Management / methods*
  • Safety Management / statistics & numerical data
  • Seat Belts / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Trauma Centers / standards