World report on road traffic injury prevention

  • Published: World Health Organization (WHO), 2004
  • Authors: M. Peden, R. Scurfield, D.Sleet, D. Mohan, A. A. Hyder, E. Jarawan and C. Mathers
  • Date Added: 24 Jun 2013
  • Last Update: 24 Jun 2013
  • Format: pdf


To describe the burden, intensity, pattern and impacts of road traffic injuries at global, regional and national levels;To examine the key determinants and risk factors;To discuss interventions and strategies that can be employed to address the problem; and,To make recommendations for action at local, national and international levels.

Methodology: Over 100 international professionals from the sectors of health, transport, engineering, law enforcement and education – among others – as well as the private sector and nongovernmental organizations, were involved in the development of this report.

Key Findings:

  • The term, “daytime running lights” refers to the use of lights (whether multipurpose or specially designed) on the front of a vehicle while it is run­ning during daylight hours, so as to increase its vis­ibility.

  • Some countries – including Austria, Canada, Hungary, the Nordic countries and some states in the United States– now require by law varying levels of use of daytime running lights. This may involve either drivers switching on their headlamps or the fitting of switches or special lamps on vehicles.

  • Two meta-analyses of the effects of daytime running lights on cars show that the measure con­tributes substantially to reducing RTIs. The first study, which examined daytime RTIs involv­ing more than one party, found a reduction in the number of RTIs of around 13 per cent with the use of daytime lights, and reduction of between 8 per cent and 15 per cent as a result of introducing mandatory laws on daytime use.

  • The number of pedestrians and cyclists hit by cars was reduced by 15 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.

  • The second study found a reduction of slightly over 12 per cent in daytime RTIs involving more than one party, a 20 per cent decrease in injured victims and a 25 per cent reduction in deaths in such RTIs.

  • A study of data over four years from nine American states concluded that, on average, cars fitted with automatic daytime running lights were involved in 3.2 per cent fewer multiple RTIs than vehicles without.

  • A cost–benefit analysis of providing automatic light switches on cars for daytime running lamps using standard low-beam headlights found that the benefits outweighed the costs by a factor of 4.4.

  • Motorized two-wheeler users have expressed concerns that daytime running lights on cars could reduce the visibility of motor­cyclists. While there is no empirical evidence to indicate this is the case, researchers have suggested that if such an effect did exist, it would be offset by the benefit to motorcyclists of increased car visibil­ity.


Daytime running lights, casualty reduction, cost-benefit.


Limited reference to some of the technologies of interest but provides data related to daytime running lights.