The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has called for renewed efforts and well-defined targets to reduce the number of road deaths worldwide.
Backing the newly launched UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, the charity pointed to the "horrendous global cost of preventable road accidents".
It quoted UN figures that show one person is killed or seriously injured on roads worldwide every six seconds - the equivalent of 1.3 million deaths and 20-50 million serious injuries every year.
The charity said its goal over the next decade would be to "help educate road users, train motorcyclists and drivers, help organisations manage their road risk and work with partners to improve road safety in the UK and around the world".
By being aware of the risks and the basic safeguards, motorists can help make the roads safe for all and reap other benefits such as reducedcar insurance costs.
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA's head of road safety, said: "Road deaths are set to become the fifth leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. If measures are taken by governments, police, health practitioners and all road users to improve safety, this can be prevented."
He added: "Here in the UK we have seen death and injury on our roads reduce significantly because we've had national strategies and targets led by successive governments, and supported by many different agencies such as local authorities, police, road user groups and charities like RoSPA all working towards the same goals.
"These strategies are most effective when based on good data so they address the most pressing issues, such as seat belt use, drinking and driving, speeding, motorcycle safety and vulnerable road users, such as children, pedestrians and pedal cyclists."
Copyright © Press Association 2011