"This report shows that the problem is getting worse," said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "Deaths from road traffic crashes have increased to 1.35 million a year. That's nearly 3,700 people dying on the world's roads every day."
While the figure has increased over the past three years by roughly 100,000, the report suggests that traffic-related deaths have largely stabilized, in part due to increased government regulation limiting key risks, such as speeding and drinking and driving.
Read more: How can India fix its deadly highways?
Safest roads in EuropeEurope had the lowest road traffic deaths rate, in line with the trend that higher-income countries tend to have fewer deadly accidents. The death rate in Europe was 9.3 per 100,000 people, much lower than Africa, which had the highest rate at 26.6.
"Whereas 60 percent of countries with laws meeting best practice are from the European region, only 2 percent are from the African region," the report said.
In Germany, the rate was below the European average with 4.1 per 100,000 people.
"Experience shows that sustainable road safety must be planned and requires long-term investment and appropriate management capacity for effective delivery," said WHO chief Ghebreyesus.
Read more: Road deaths in Germany fall to all time low but accidents on the rise
'Heart-breaking statistics'Despite progress in road safety in several countries across the globe, road accidents have taken their toll on society's most vulnerable people.
"One of the most heart-breaking statistics in this report is that road traffic injury is the leading cause of death for people aged between 5 and 29 years," WHO chief Ghebreyesus said.
"No child should die or be seriously injured while they walk, cycle or play."
Read more: What will it take to clear the air in Berlin?
Every evening, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.
ls/ng (AFP, dpa)