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Update: Road accident deaths per 100 000 people: How does SA compare?


THE statistics surrounding road-related fatalities are always a sore spot for South Africans; we aren’t quite up to scratch when it comes to road safety unfortunately. The annual World Health Organisation (WHO) has released its Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015.

The problem is, the report notes figures from 2010/2011, with 13 802 fatalities reported. Having the figures from this period is valuable. However, having current figures with which to compare the statistics with is ideal. The AA shares my sentiments and is also concerned with the lack of up-to-date figures. Having comparable figures would go a long way to measuring the efficacy of the United Nations’ Decade of Action for Road Safety aimed at reducing road deaths by 2020.

According to the AA it has discovered that, of the 180 countries involved in the report, South Africa has the most outdated figures; in other words, this is not really a true reflection of the state of our roads, right? Given that the data is not updated, it is difficult to measure the success or failure of any campaign aimed at improving road safety in the country. Without these updated figures, organisations involved in promoting road safety are forced to speculate on the results of their campaigns.  So what happens if we take the 2013 report and compare it to the 2015 report? Well, the 2013 report uses 2009 statistics and as previously mentioned, the current report uses 2010/2011 figures. The survey released in 2013 shows 13 768 fatalities while the 2015 report is almost identical at 13 802 fatalities. That means, there’s been almost no improvement in the state of our roads if one has to compare the figures.

The AA also points out that when comparing these figures it becomes clear there’s been little or no improvement on the road fatality figures in three years. But given that there are no updated statistics since this period, this indicates an institutional problem that must be dealt with as a matter of priority to address the shocking state of road safety in South Africa.

I do believe there must be something done; I would not be surprised if the statistics from this year do not show a significant improvement in road fatalities. It comes down to a mindset. People still drive/walk drunk, text and drive, drive while performing other activities and indeed when they are too tired to concentrate.  Vehicles that are unroadworthy still populate our roads and unlicensed drivers still pilot vehicles.

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) - amongst other things - is in the business of tracking global trends related to road traffic accidents. It recently revealed the average road deaths per 100 000 inhabitants in each country across the globe.

We have selected key countries throughout the world to compare South Africa with:

Road deaths per 100 000 inhabitants

Country Deaths per 100 000 Population Vehicles
South Africa 25.1 deaths 52.8 million-strong population 9.9 million vehicles
Zimbabwe  28.2 deaths 14.1 million residents 900 000 vehicles
Nigeria 20.5 deaths 173.6 million population 5.8 million vehicles
Brazil 23.4 deaths 200.4 million residents 81.6 million vehicles
USA 10.6 deaths 320.1 million population 265 million vehicles
Australia 5.4 deaths 23.3 million population 17.2 million vehicles
India 16.6 deaths 1.252 billion population 159.5 million vehicles
United Kingdom 2.9 deaths 61.3 million population 35.6 million vehicles
Libya 73.4 deaths 6.2 million population 3.6 million vehicles
China 18.8 deaths 1.385 billion population 250.1 million vehicles

 Interactive MAP, choose theme at the top left. 

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Article written by Sean Nurse
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