Yearly fatalities in road traffic accidents in Japan reached 16,765 in 1970. This is the highest number ever recorded in Japan. In response, the Japanese government started the First Fundamental Traffic Safety Program and initiated the countermeasures including massive installation of traffic lights and other traffic safety facilities in 1971. Since this peak, the number of yearly fatalities declined steadily down to 8,466 in 1979.
However, yearly fatalities started to rise again in 1980 and reached 11,451 in 1992. This second wave of increasing fatalities required more comprehensive and effective measures for the traffic safety. For formulating effective traffic safety measures, causes and conditions of traffic accidents must be grasped precisely, and this can be realized solely through comprehensive and scientific research and analysis.


ITARDA was founded in 1992 for this purpose, being promoted by the National Police Agency, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Construction, Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association Inc., and the General Insurance Association of Japan and many other bodies.
The mission of ITARDA is to contribute to reducing road traffic accidents and casualties through research and analysis of road traffic accidents from the standpoint of human factors, vehicular factors and road traffic environments.
ITARDA maintains a huge and all-inclusive database of all the traffic accidents in Japan. It also conducts in-depth comprehensive investigations of selected accidents and maintains a database of those investigations' results. With those databases, it carries out studies of traffic accidents from various aspects and provides the fruit to the government, to the institutions and companies concerned and to the general public.


The number of yearly fatalities has declined again since 1993 and was 4,863 in 2010, which was the lowest level since 1953. In 2010, the number of yearly fatalities (deaths within 24 hours after an accident) i.e. "24-hour fatalities" was 4,863. That of "30-day fatalities" was 5,745. The number of fatal and injury traffic accidents and that of casualties were 725,773 cases and 901,071 persons respectively.
In April 2011, the government has started the Ninth Fundamental Traffic Safety Program and has set the target to reduce yearly "24-hour fatalities" to less than 3,000 by 2015. In the Program, ITARDA is called on by the government to contribute with its databases and studies to fulfill the target.