Which Countries Have the Worst Road Safety Records?

Posted on 12 July 2012 by Tony Santos

Which Countries Have the Worst Road Safety Records

According to the World Health Organisation, well over one million people are killed every year throughout the world in road traffic accidents, making them  one of the main causes of death.  They are the leading cause of death for children and young people aged between ten and nineteen.  The problem is most severe in developing countries, with 90% of road traffic accidents occuring in low and mid-income countries, with those in parts of south-east Asia, Latin America and Africa having the highest rates. 

Africa may generally have the fewest cars, with between 10-20 per thousand owning a vehicle, against 600 in Europe and 800 in the United States, but holds the worst world safety record.  Statistics compiled by the WHO showing road deaths per 100,000 of the population reveal worryingly high levels.  For instance, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has figures of 32.2, the Gambia 36.6, while the toll rises alarmingly in Eritrea to 48.4.  Even in South Africa, one of the continent’s most developed countries, the figures are 33.2.

A conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in November 2011 reckoned that road deaths would increase unless leaders implemented a plan to address the problem, which currently causes most young peoples’ deaths, only behind malaria.  This is a terrible loss of population, impacting not only emotionally buut economically, with the loss of future workers.  Hospital resources are overstretched, especially when it is considered that the figures shown are for fatalities and do not cover the enormous number of road traffic injuries sustained.

Latin America had one of the worst road safety records in 2011, with over 130,000 fatalities and severe injuries.  It is one of the world’s most urbanised areas, and nearly 40% of the population live in poverty.  Pakistan’s record contrasts with India’s, having 25.3 deaths per 100,000 compared with 11.1.  A recent newspaper report of a head-on collision between two buses in Pakistan states that this is a recurring problem, and is a reminder that many accidents involve public transport and not just private vehicles.  As with many under-developed countries, there is a lack of stringent regulations and checks on both driving and vehicle safety.

In Europe, generally speaking, the eastern countries fare worst in the safety statistics, including the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, although Greece has the highest risk of death closely followed by Portugal and Hungary.  There is anecdotal evidence of a careless attitude in some countries, with crash helmets in Greece being regarded as optional in spite of the law, while in Spain a crack-down on driving without seatbelts and drink-driving has only recently become successful.  British holidaymakers attempting to cross the road at zebra crossings are certainly aware that a different attitude prevails abroad.

 This is a guest post from the car accident claims specialists at MoneyBright.

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