Law Offices of Paul K. Schrier, PLLC

How many people die in car accidents around the world?

When the media and research community discuss car accident fatalities, it is often done on a national, state or local scale. In many ways this makes sense, as it effects people in our own communities and it is easier to examine how we may have a positive impact on fatality statistics closer to home.

But what about car accident deaths around the world? Do international statistics follow similar patterns as we see nationally or even locally?

Global traffic accident fatality statistics

Car accident deaths on a global scale are monitored by the World Health Organization's Global Health Observatory (GHO). The GHO's most recent report on road safety was released in 2015, reporting on data from 2013. The report found that there were 1.25 million traffic-related deaths in 2013 and millions more who suffered serious injuries. Additionally, the report found the following global trends:

  • Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among young people
  • Accidents are the primary cause of death among people age 15 to 29
  • Road traffic injuries are the ninth leading cause of death globally for all age groups, and estimated to become the seventh leading cause by 2030.

Regional and national differences

Traffic fatality rates varied greatly in 2013, depending on the world region or country. For example, regions in Africa have the highest fatality rate at 26.6 per 100,000 people and Europe has the lowest rate at 9.3.

The rate of traffic deaths was also vastly different depending on the country. Low-income countries had an average rate of 24.1, middle-income countries were 18.4 and high-income countries came in much lower than the other two at 9.3. In the United States, the mortality rate ranges from 10 to 19.9. By comparison, Canada and most of Europe have a rate of less than 10.

Those most at risk

Worldwide, as in the United States, the death rates were highest for those with the least amount of protection. Motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians accounted for almost half of all the world's traffic fatalities in 2013.

As with the overall statistics, mortality rates from traffic accidents can differ greatly for motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians depending on the region. In general, death rates for these populations is highest in African regions and lowest in Southeast Asia.

Although the GHO's statistics are a much larger scale, they illustrate that traffic accident fatalities, and crashes in general, are not just a national epidemic. Motor vehicle accidents are a global problem that may need to be addressed by leaders on a worldwide level.


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