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China Highway Deaths Surge to Record Levels

Actual numbers could be more than four times what officials claim.

by on Nov.26, 2013

A routine sight on Chinese roads.

When nine people were killed and 76 other injured during a massive pile-up in China’s Anhui Province over the weekend it barely made the headlines.  After all, it was just another in an ever more common tally of fatal accidents in what is now the world’s largest automotive market.

According to new statistics from the World Health Organization, an estimated 275,000 people were killed on China’s roadways last year.  That’s nearly nine times more than died in the U.S. – even after a slight, unexpected surge in American highway deaths during 2012.  That figure is more than four times higher than the official government number, 60,000 traffic fatalities last year.

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Even adjusting for the fact that China has four times the U.S. population, the total is astounding, accounting for 20.5 citizens out of every 100,000.  The American death rate is 11.4 per 100,000. And that doesn’t even account for the fact that China still has barely a third as many cars as the U.S., and its citizens clock far fewer miles than the 12,000 to 15,000 average in the States.

Only a handful of countries, including Argentina, Iraq, El Salvador and Chad, suffer a higher percentage of their populations killed in automobile accident each year.