If you're planning an overseas holiday, you might want to reconsider a car rental service and stick to the footpath instead. The World Health Organisation's Global Status Report On Road Safety 2013 has revealed some sobering data about the likelihood of being involved in a fatal car crash on each continent.
Car picture from Shutterstock
This year's report found that only 28 countries — contributing to less than seven percent of the world's population — have comprehensive road safety laws in the areas of speeding, drinking, failing to use a motorcycle helmet, seat-belts and child restraints. This has contributed to more than 1.24 million road fatalities per year.
More than three-quarters of all road traffic deaths globally were among young males. Over half of deaths were made up by motorcyclists (23%), pedestrians (22%) and cyclists (5%).
"The world is rapidly motorising, and as this report shows, more concerted action is needed, and it is needed now," said WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. "Without this, we can expect a rise in the number of deaths and injuries on our roads."
The Global Status Report On Road Safety breaks up data by country. In Australia, 1,363 road fatalities were recorded, of which 72 percent were male and 28 percent were female. This works out to 6.1 deaths per 100,000. The worst offender when it comes to roadside fatalities is the Dominican Republic, which recorded 2,470 deaths (41.7 per 100,000).
"More than a million people die each year on the world’s roads, and the cost of dealing with the consequences of these road traffic crashes runs to billions of dollars," the report concludes. "Current trends suggest that by 2030 road traffic deaths will become the fifth leading cause of death unless urgent action is taken."
The report urges countries to adopt and enforce legislation relating to the top risk factors -– namely, speed, drink–driving, motorcycle helmets, seat-belts and child restraints. Regular road safety audits to assess safety levels of both existing and new road infrastructure projects are also recommended.
In your personal experience, which country has the most dangerous roads/traffic etiquette? Share your stories in the comments section below.