International Transport Forum publishes road death figures for 33 countries
The number of road fatalities fell in 30 of the 33 countries analysed by the ITF's International Traffic Safety Data and Analysis Group (IRTAD). In many countries, the average annual drop in road deaths was dramatically higher than in previous decades during the 2000-2009 period. Spain registered an average annual drop of 8.5%, as compared to 4.4% in the 1990s and an actual increase of fatalities in the 1980s. The UK saw an annual reduction of 4.6% in the past decade, compared to 1.3% in the 1980s. In the United States, road fatalities fell by an annual average of 2.3% between 2000 and 2009. In the 1990s, they had dropped by a mere 0.6% per annum and by 1.3% in the 1980s.
The largest drop in traffic-related deaths occurred in Portugal (-55%) and Spain (-53%), where the number of road fatalities fell by more than half. France achieved a reduction of 47%. The US registered a drop of -19%; the UK of over a third (-35%). Three countries show an increase over the past ten years: Argentina, Cambodia, Malaysia. These three countries have only recently joined IRTAD and hope to benefit from the expertise of the group in designing road safety measures.
In 2009, some countries reached the lowest number of road deaths since systematic records began – among them the United States and Switzerland. Denmark had the lowest number of fatalities since 1932, Canada for almost 60 years.
While high-income countries are looking back on a record decade in reducing road fatalities, 90% of global road deaths occur in low and middle income countries (estimates put annual global road fatalities at least 1.3 million, with 50 million injuries). The United Nations have thus declared 2011 to 2020 the Decade of Action for Road Safety, with the aim of stabilising and then reducing global road deaths by 2020.
'Reducing fatalities around the world will be accelerated by rapid and effective transfer of knowledge, good practice and information from the best performing countries,' said Jack Short. 'The IRTAD data base and network is one way for countries to share experiences and innovations, and we want to continue to strengthen its role.'