It may not seem like the most cheerful of subjects, but a website is available that highlights just how dangerous roads can be.
Not just in America, not just in Europe and not just in Africa; roads are deadly places wherever you are in the world. This research, courtesy of The Pulitzer Centre, looks at the problem in brilliant detail – allowing you to see just how many people meet their match on the roads in a single year.
Gruesome yes, but fascinating reading none the less; as not only are you presented with an interactive map that allows you to scroll over the various nations, but also a multitude of facts and figures about the road traffic accidents that occur in that particular nation.
As well as being given a statistical breakdown of the different types of fatal accident that occurred in that country in the past 12 months, you are also presented with a final percentage of the death toll. Reasons for the fatalities are also given – such as failing to wear a seatbelt, helmet and even alcohol intake and high speed.
One thing that is startlingly obvious when looking at the figures is that the former Soviet states have certainly paid the price for higher vehicle ownership and a greater number of drivers over the past decade. The death toll on Russian roads, for example, is still about five times higher than what is seen in most European Union countries and about double the number for the United States.
This may act as a stark warning to the likes of China, who have seen sales of motor vehicles rocket in recent years. The site also highlights that it’s not just drivers of vehicles who suffer in road accidents; pedestrians make up a large amount of the total in most counties.
In New York City for example, pedestrians account for 12 percent of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. Not a shocking amount considering the density of the population – but still a huge number. This is despite attempts by several mayors to reduce the risk of accidents by outlawing activities such as “jay walking” for example.
For all the bad news there are some pieces of good news regarding road deaths that certainly make for happier reading.
Take Sweden. The Scandinavian country had only 266 road fatalities in 2010, a rate of 3 deaths per 100,000 citizens, and the lowest among industrialized nations. Though an explanation is not given, this impressive figure can only be put down to greater road safety awareness among drivers and pedestrians.
And what about the one-time bad boys when it came to motoring offences, Australia? They have cleaned up their act too. With some of the most reckless drivers in the world and highest death rates going some 50 years ago; strict enforcement of safe driving laws has resulted in an 80 percent decline in road fatalities since.
For a little lighter relief and general road traffic trivia there are some more educational facts on display other than just what country has the most road deaths and which nations have improved.
Like who knew that in Nigeria, the Federal Road Safety Commission only recently made it compulsory for new drivers to take driving lessons and pass a test before obtaining a licence; in the past you could simply buy a licence?
Read this site at your own risk, but don’t let it put you off; driving is undoubtedly safer now than it ever was.
If nothing else, this research shows the contrast in attitudes towards motoring and road safety across the globe and how those attitudes can be changed with greater awareness and education.
Take a look for yourself at www.roadskillmap.com.
Written by journalist and blogger Matthew Crist in association with TSR Injury Law, the Minnesota auto accident attorney. For more information on TSR Injury Law please visit our website at www.tsrinjurylaw.com.