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ESTIMATING GLOBAL ROAD FATALITIES

Contents
Executive Summary
Mitsubishi Pajero Pinin
Introduction
Economic costs of Road Crashes

Regional Analyses

Highly Motorised Countries
Asia & Pacific
Central & Eastern Europe
Latin & Central America & Caribbean
Central & S. Africa & Middle East
Summary and conclusions
Regional Statistics
HMCs Asia & Pacific
CEE LCAC
Africa MENA

 

4 Regional analyses

4.1 Introduction

This chapter provides a ‘snapshot’ summary of the road safety situation in the individual regions. However the differences within the regions are often as wide as those between them. The regional summary is presented in three parts starting with the current situation and basic safety and motorisation indicators for the ten countries with the largest number of road crash fatalities. (Indicators for all countries are included in the Appendix). A review of the change in the last decade in motorisation, fatalities and population follows with sub-regions or the largest country presented separately. Lastly, information on the type of road crash casualties, including road user type, age and gender distribution, is presented.

Several indicators are used here as no single indicator accurately describes the traffic safety situation in a country. The most common method used in motorised countries is the number of injury crashes per million vehicle kilometres per annum (which relates crashes to a measure of exposure to traffic) but few developing countries have vehicle usage data. Instead, fatality rates, the number of reported fatalities per 10,000 motor vehicles, are regularly used to compare traffic safety records between countries. Yet fatality rates can be expected to be of less importance within a country than the actual number of deaths taking place. Fatality risk, the number of reported fatalities per 100,000 population, is the most common indicator used by the health sector to prioritise diseases and other causes of death. In this section therefore both fatality rates and risks are presented.

Fatality rates will also be prone to error in that the level of accuracy in reporting motor vehicle fleet sizes will vary widely. Vehicle registration databases suffer similar problems to casualty databases with disincentives to register and difficulties in updating databases. Some countries impose a de-registration fee so few motor vehicles are removed from the official registers while in many countries, owners try to avoid registering vehicles because of the associated fees. The recent PHARE report highlighted the difference between the number of registered vehicles reported by national experts and the IRF, with most countries having more vehicles registered than reported by the IRF (Phare, 1999).

It should be stressed again that this short study was limited to the use of available published data. In particular, several of the summaries are based on the road safety reviews recently undertaken in different regions of the world.

4.2 Highly motorised countries

4.2.1 Current situation

While HMCs have the majority of the world’s motor vehicles (60%), they account for only 14-15 per cent of the global fatalities and population. There is less variation within HMCs in terms of motorisation and wealth as well as safety levels. Motorisation level, measured by the number of motor vehicles per 1000 population, varies by a factor less than two while the other indicators of GNP per capita and fatality rate and risk vary by four or less.

The ten countries (see Table 12) summarised above represent 88 per cent of total HMCs population. Most HMCs have fatality rates of about 2 or less but the poorest countries of the region, Portugal and Greece, have rates twice as high and which are the highest in the region. Japan had the second largest number of fatalities but a good safety record with a fatality risk half that of the US and a fatality rate which was 40 per cent lower. Figures 3 and 4 show the latest fatality risks and rates values for all HMCs.

Four countries have less than one motor vehicle per two people. In the UK, 30 per cent of households do not own a motor vehicle and so while this region is much more motorised than the rest of the world, many remain without access to a motor vehicle.


Table 12  - Basic indicators for 10 HMCs (1996)

Road fatalities

Deaths per 100,000 pop.

Motor vehicles per1000 pop.

Deaths per 10,000 motor vehicles

GNP per capita ($USD)

USA

          41,967

15.8

787

2

29,339

Japan

            9,942

7.9

669

1.2

38,264

Germany

            8,758

10.7

559

1.9

28,335

France

            8,080

13.8

524

2.6

26,409

Italy

            6,198

10.8

617

1.8

20,224

Spain

            5,483

14.0

488

1.9

14,509

UK

            3,598

6.1

408

1.5

20,946

Canada

            3,082

10.3

573

1.8

19,856

Portugal

          12,100

21.1

436

4.8

11,024

Greece

            2,068

19.7

497

4

11,688

4.2.2 Recent trends

The safety record has improved over the past few decades in many HMCs. Annual road fatalities peaked over thirty years ago in the UK with 7,985 deaths (1966) and six years later for the USA (54,589 deaths). Fatality rates peaked much earlier with, for example the UK’s worst peacetime fatality rate of 4.5 occurring in 1930.

With the US accounting for 41 per cent of the country group’s fatalities, trends are shown separately for the US and the other nine HMCs. The safety record has continued to improve in both the US and other HMC countries with fatalities decreasing while motorisation increases. Progress was even greater among the other HMC countries with a slightly larger decrease in fatalities but a motorisation and population increase almost twice that experienced in the US motorisation increases. Progress was even greater among the other HMC countries with a slightly larger decrease in fatalities but a motorisation and population increase almost twice that experienced in the US.

The continued fatality reduction in HMCs is due to the combined effect of many measures: road safety awareness campaigns, legislation (e.g. making wearing seatbelts compulsory), driver training, road engineering and higher safety standards for vehicles. Whatever the reasons, this experience demonstrates that it is possible to reduce the number of road crash deaths through investment in road safety measures whilst the number of vehicles on the road is increasing.

The recent experience of Victoria State, Australia shows how quickly a significant fatality reduction can be achieved. Since 1990, road deaths and serious injuries have been halved while injury crashes overall have decreased by one third. The ‘Victoria Solution’ involved the police, highways authority, and the state’s statutory monopoly third party insurers joining forces in strict enforcement of speeding and drink drive violations (Corrie, 1998).

Figure 2 – Fatality risk in Highly motorised countries

Mitsubishi Pajero Pinin

Figure 3 – Fatality rates in highly motorised countries

Mitsubishi Pajero Pinin

4.2.3 Road crash casualties

4.2.3.1 Road user type

Not surprisingly, given the high level of motorisation, car fatalities dominate in most of the HMCs. Japan is the only country reporting the number of pedestrian fatalities as being equivalent to that of car occupants (see Table 13). In many HMCs, pedestrian fatality involvement was one third to one fifth that of car occupants. Pedestrian involvement can be expected to be higher in urban areas, with for example pedestrians accounting for half of road fatalities in London (DETR, 1997)


Table 13  - Road fatalities by class of road user

Car

 Pedestrian

USA

52%

13%

Japan

28%

28%

Germany

61%

13%

France

63%

12%

Italy

55%

13%

Spain

53%

17%

United Kingdom

50%

27%

Canada

54%

13%

Portugal

38%

23%

Greece

42%

22%

Source: DETR, Road Crashes Great Britain: 1998

4.2.3.2 Gender and age distribution

Based on the limited data readily available, females appear to represent approximately one third to one quarter of road fatalities (See Table 14). Where reported, female injuries appear to be less serious than that of males with females having a larger share of total casualties than fatalities.

Children accounted for a higher share of road casualties in the UK and USA than in other countries, for example, twice as high as that in Italy and Spain. The UK casualty involvement for the under 9’s is over three times that of Italy’s. Differences such as these are related to social patterns (e.g. whether children walk to school, whether they are accompanied and whether journeys are made in daylight) and, they could also be related to population distribution.

Table 14  - Female casualty involvement

Country

Year

Fatalities

Total casualties

USA*

1994/95

33%

44%

UK

1996

28%

43%

France

1995

30%

N/a

Spain

1994

23%

N/a

*Fatality data is from the first year and casualty data is from the second year

Information on OECD countries has come from the publication ‘Road Traffic Statistics in Europe and North America’, which uses the age group 25-64. Not surprisingly more than 50 per cent of casualties fall in this wide age group (see Table 15). However more detailed information from specific countries such as UK, USA etc show that about 45 per cent of casualties fall in the 20-40 age group. The adult working age cohort (21-64) accounted for over 60 per cent of all casualties in every country and over two thirds of all casualties in France.

Table 15  - Road casualty by age distribution

Age

 Denmark

 France

 Italy

Norway

Spain

UK

USA

0-9

4%

5%

2%

5%

3%

7%

6%

10-14

4%

4%

2%

4%

3%

6%

4%

15-17

7%

8%

6%

7%

6%

7%

9%

18-20

12%

10%

9%

11%

11%

10%

10%

21-24

12%

17%

14%

11%

14%

11%

10%

25-64

51%

52%

55%

50%

50%

52%

54%

>65

10%

8%

8%

9%

7%

7%

7%

Unknown

2%

0%

4%

2%

6%

2%

N/a

Recent European Union research has found that for citizens under 45 years, the death rates from road crashes are more than six times higher than from cancer and 14 times higher than from coronary heart disease (Care On The Road, August 1999).

The other traditional vulnerable age group, the elderly, i.e. those aged 65 years and above, accounted for a maximum of one out of every ten road casualties (Denmark). The elderly can be expected to represent a larger percent of fatalities, given their reduced ability to recover from trauma. In the UK, the over 60 age group has a pedestrian fatality rate more than 3 times its casualty involvement rate (15 per cent of pedestrian casualties, but47 percent of pedestrian fatalities).

 
 


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