Every six seconds, someone is killed or seriously injured in a traffic accident. Every day, 3,500 people are killed in car crashes.

That means traffic fatalities are a global epidemic on par with malaria and tuberculosis, according to a new report issued by the Campaign for Global Road Safety.

"The epidemic has reached crisis proportions," wrote Kevin Watkins, a Brookings Institute researcher who authored the report, and the problem is "set to worse over the years ahead."

There are 1.3 million annual global road deaths, and they are the No. 1 global cause of deaths of young people ages 10 to 24. Approximately 260,000 children die in car accidents annually, according to the World Health Organization.

Air pollution also kills an estimated 1.3 million people each year, according to the report, and 70 to 90 percent of fatal pollutants, such as carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide, originate from automotive traffic, the report says.

"There are no surprises or hidden magic bullets for tackling the road traffic injury crisis," Watkins writes. "Vehicles need to be separated from vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists."