Street lighting may prevent road traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities

Clinical question: 
How effective is street lighting in preventing road traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities?
Bottom line: 
Eleven studies investigated the effects of newly installed street lighting, four the effects of improved lighting and one investigated both new and improved lighting. All of the studies were conducted in high-income countries. This finding might be of particular interest to low and middle-income countries where the policy on street lighting is less developed and the installation of suitable lighting systems is less common than in high-income countries.
No randomised controlled trials were identified - the review was based on the results of 16 controlled before-after studies. The methodological quality of the trials was generally poor, and the risk of bias was judged to be high. Fourteen of the 16 studies were able to contribute data to the meta-analysis.
Road traffic crashes are a major cause of death and injury, especially in low and middle-income countries. Worldwide, each year over 1 million people are killed and some 10 million people are permanently disabled in traffic crashes. Furthermore, it is estimated road traffic injuries will have risen from ninth to third in world disease burden rankings by 2020, and will account for 2.3 million deaths globally.
Review CD#: 
June, 2009
Authored by: 
Brian R McAvoy