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Street lighting for prevention of road traffic injuries
  1. F R Beyer,
  2. K Ker
  1. Mrs F R Beyer, Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, 19–21 Claremont Place, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4AA, UK; fiona.beyer{at}

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Road traffic crashes are a major cause of death and injury, especially in low and middle income countries (LMICs). Over a million people die each year on the world’s roads, and the number of injuries could be as high as 50 million.1 A systematic review was recently published on the Cochrane Database of SystematicReviews, investigating the effects of street lighting on fatalities and injuries from road traffic crashes.2

Street lighting may improve a driver’s visual capabilities and ability to detect roadway hazards, and can reduce contrast between headlight glare and the surrounding environment, preventing loss of visual clarity from contrast adaptation. However, street lighting may also adversely affect safety due to “risk compensation”: drivers may “feel” safer and consequently might increase speed and reduce concentration. Previous systematic reviews34 disagreed about the level of evidence supporting the use of street lights, and this latest review aimed to provide a rigorous re-evaluation of the evidence.

The review sought studies of …

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