In 2013 every 44th death in Earth was caused by a road traffic accident

St 10. 08. 2016

Fatal road traffic accidents rank the ninth most frequent cause of death

In Libya every 7th person died in a road accident, in Qatar every tenth. The most favourable situation was in the countries of EU28, while Denmark, Sweden and Malta ranked the best.  Specific data obtained through unique research are brought by the Team of Road Safety.

Approximately 1.25 million people die every year on roads worldwide, and up to 50 million people suffer injuries during road accidents. Fatal road accidents are the ninth most frequent cause of death. Road accidents worldwide caused death of 174 people per one million of population in 2013. Global economy lost considerable 3 % GDP due to road accidents, therefore every person in the world works 11 days to help cover total losses incurred by road accidents. Unless a fundamental change is initiated, the ranking will drop down to the seventh place in 2030. Fortunately, the situation seems to be changing for the better. “The number of fatalities has not increased since 2007, despite the fact that the population of Earth increased by 4 % in 2010-2013 and the number of registered motor vehicles even by 6 %,“ explains Alena Šteflová, Head of WHO Country Office.

Who died on roads in 2013?
Passengers in personal vehicles were the most frequent victims of road accidents. They made 31 % of all victims. They are followed by motorcycle and motor tricycle riders (23 %), pedestrians (22 %) and cyclists (4 %). One fifth of cases includes the others (people in heavy vehicles and buses, passengers in trains in accidents with road vehicles, etc.). 

Regarding statistics of fatal traffic accidents, the published data typically concern absolute numbers of fatalities in individual countries and the number of fatalities per one million of population, or number of fatalities per a billion of driven kilometres, respectively. However, the question is what is the share of road accident fatalities in the total number of deaths in individual countries?  

Every 44th inhabitant of the world died in a road accident in 2013
The analysis was made by the Team of Road Safety. The average world population in the given year reached 7 162 119 000 people. 7.79 people per a thousand died, “out of which 0.175 person died in a road accident, i.e. 2.25 % of all died people. Therefore, every 44th Earth inhabitant died needlessly as a consequence of a road accident,” warns Roman Budský from the Team of Road Safety. However, the situation in individual countries varied. The highest share of road accident fatalities was recorded in Libya (13.9 %, i.e. every seventh death), followed by Qatar (10.24 %) and Oman (9.37 %). The ranking at the top has changed since a similar research was performed by University of Michigan, USA, in 2008. In that year the United Arab Emirates ranked the first, while every sixth death was a consequence of a road accident. In 2013 the situation improved dramatically and the country ranked the sixth. An interesting point is that USA and Russia ranked next to each other in 2013. However, a more detailed analysis shows that in Russia 189 people per one million of population died in 2013, while it was just 106 deaths in USA.        

European Union roads are the safest in the world
The same holds for 2015. In that year 509 174 700 people on average lived in the countries of EU28. In total 5 226 500 people died, i.e. 10.26 deaths per a thousand of population. Approximately 26 300 people died on roads, i.e. 0.052 deaths per one thousand people. In total, the share of deaths as a consequence of road accidents reached 0.51 % of the total number of deaths. The highest share was in Cyprus (around 1 %), Luxembourg (0.88 %) and Romania (0.8 %), while the best situation was in Denmark (0.28 %) and Malta together with Sweden (0.29 %). The position of the Czech Republic was not very promising ranking on the sixth and seventh worst position together with Bulgaria with the share of 0.68 %. 

Interesting facts were brought by a comparison of the share of road accident deaths in relation to the total number of deaths in 2013 and 2015. The share increased in seven countries and it stayed equal in France. The share in Cyprus increased by a third, in Bulgaria by 17 % and the third ranked the Czech Republic with an increase by 15 %. Based on preliminary data, total costs related to road accidents in 2015 reached a record breaking CZK 58 billion. “The number of fatalities per one million of population exceeded the average of the EU by 36 %. Furthermore, the data obtained on the basis of our worldwide research support the conclusion that road traffic safety should be paid special attention,” concludes Jindřich Frič, Director of CDV – Transport Research Centre.