Road crashes kill over 1.3 million people worldwide, each and every year – which equates to more than one death every 25 seconds. This number has risen in recent years, even despite improvements in road safety, which may be attributed to an increasing share of vulnerable road users including cyclists and pedestrians.

Compared to the rest of the world, how safe are drivers in the UK? According to the department for transport, the UK has over 45.5 million active drivers as reported by the latest figures available in 2015. Having a license in the UK makes you one of the most ‘powerful’ drivers in the world, as our country is tied with France alone in having the fewest restrictions when it comes to driving abroad. With a UK license, we are trusted to drive in more countries than almost any other. But is this a reflection of our safety figures?

Are we safer than the rest of the world?

Globally, total road traffic accidents increased in 2015 and 2016, according to IRTAD member country figures. This increase has been associated with an ageing population, and an increase in vulnerable road users.

When it comes to domestic road traffic accidents, the UK experienced 181,384 casualties of all severities in the latest figures from 2016. Of these, there were 1792 fatalities. The US, on the other hand, experienced around 40,000 fatal motor crashes in 2016 – making it one of the world’s most dangerous countries to drive in.

However, compared to France, which has roughly the same population size to the UK, the UK is still far safer. 2016 saw 3,477 road deaths compared to the UK’s 1792 – which is almost double the fatal injury rate despite only having a very slight population advantage of 3 million.

Globally, then, it seems fair to assert that the UK is one of the world’s safest countries. However, when you take into account figures released by the World Health Organisation in 2013, the picture becomes harder to establish.

In their report, the WHO also studied death rate per 100,000 population, which provides a far clearer picture of road safety in relation to population size. In their figures, the poorer regions of the world were far more dangerous. The African continent experienced the highest rate of road traffic fatalities at 26.6 per 100,000 people, whereas Europe experienced just 9.3.

Country-by-country, Eritrea is by far the most dangerous country when it comes to fatal road traffic accidents, with 48.4 deaths per 100,000 people in 2013. In terms of popular destinations, Thailand is the most dangerous at 38.1. The UK remains one of the safest in the world at just 2.9 deaths per 100,000 people. We are rivalled only by Sweden (2.8 deaths) and Micronesia (1.9).

It seems drivers in the UK are far less likely to perish in a road traffic collision than almost any other country in the world. Despite this, accidents still happen, and most accidents end up causing injury or harm without fatalities.  If you’ve been the victim of an accident, contact us today to see how we can help you with a personal injury claim.


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