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Worldwide Road Deaths Decline in 2014

Fatalities drop 54 percent for car occupants.

by on May.27, 2015

Despite scenes like this one, traffic fatalities around the globe are falling, according to the International Transportation Forum.

Road deaths continued falling in 2014 in many parts of the world, according to latest data compiled by the International Transport Forum, which studied data from more than two dozen countries in Europe, East Asia and the Americas as well as Australia.

Moreover, while substantial overall fatality reductions have been achieved since the year 2000, the pace of improvement for vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, is lower than for car occupants, according to the International Road Traffic and Accident Database (IRTAD) organized by the ITF.

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While fatalities among car occupants were reduced by 54% between 2000 and 2013, decreases were only 36% for pedestrians, 35% for cyclists and 22% for motorcyclists. As a consequence in many countries, road safety priorities have recently shifted from motorized rural traffic to vulnerable road users in urban areas, the ITF noted.

But it did show an increase in road deaths in the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Road deaths in the U.S., on the other hand continued to decline, 32,716, according to the ITF. However, according to a report released by the National Safety Council today, deaths on U.S. highways have been on the rise since 2013.

Based on preliminary data, the NSC finds that highway fatalities surged by 8% during the six months from Oct. 1, 2014, through March 31 of this year – and 11% during the last half of that period. Those numbers are expected to continue to rise throughout the summer when the number of miles driven increases and fatalities involving alcohol also rise.

The ITF data, however, doesn’t include data from major motoring countries such as China, India, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa.

Overall, the 2014 provisional data show that 15 of the 28 member countries surveyed by the ITF for which figures are available managed to reduce the number of road deaths, while a total eight countries saw an increase. For the other countries there was no significant change. The range was between 21% fewer road deaths and a 16% increase.

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Validated figures for 2013 show that the number of road fatalities fell by 4.3% between 2013 and 2012 in the 32 IRTAD member countries with verified data. The long-term trend shows a very significant decrease of 42% between 2000 and 2013.

The economic downturn, which started hitting most countries since 2008, has had a substantial impact in the reduction of fatalities. Modeling work by the ITF shows that it contributed to two-thirds of the reduction between 2008 and 2010.

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The lowest road mortality rates are located in Europe: Sweden and the United Kingdom recorded fewer than three fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants in 2013.

“The IRTAD Group is aware that its current members account for only 6% of global road fatalities, and it is our intention to pursue our geographical expansion and to assist countries interested in building up and improving their road safety data system,” said IRTAD-Group Chair Fred Wegman.

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The encouraging results achieved in IRTAD countries should not hide the fact that every year 1.3 million people are killed and tens of millions are injured, 90% of them in low and middle income countries, he said.

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