Mapping global road risk

February 21, 2014 by Bernie Degroat, University of Michigan

(Medical Xpress)—The next time you go to Africa or the Middle East, you may want to stay off the roads.

A dozen of the world's countries with the highest traffic fatality rates per 100,000 population are part of the African continent, according to researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Another 10 of the top 25 nations with the worst road crash death rates are evenly split among the Middle East and Latin America.

The United States? We rank 97th out of the world's 193 countries.

When it comes to the greatest number of deaths from road crashes as a percentage of fatalities from all causes of death, several countries in the Middle East are at the top. The United Arab Emirates (16 percent) and Qatar (14 percent) are by far the worst, leading a total of 12 nations from that part of the world among the top 20 countries.

By comparison, the U.S. and Canada are both below 2 percent and several European nations are under 1 percent.

Using data from the World Health Organization, UMTRI researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle compared fatality from road crashes with mortality from three leading causes of death worldwide: cancer, and stroke.

While global death rates per 100,000 population are higher from chronic health-related causes than from traffic accidents, the latter does claim more victims in some countries, especially in developing nations. For example, the African nation of Namibia has the highest annual road traffic fatality rate in the world (45 deaths per 100,000 population), but it ranks ahead of only three countries with the lowest mortality rates for cancer (29 deaths per 100,000 population).

The worldwide per 100,000 population for each of the four causes in the U-M study are: 18 from road crashes, 113 from cancer, 108 from heart disease and 91 from stroke. The U.S. rates are 14, 189, 143 and 47, respectively. Canada has very similar rates to the U.S. when it comes to cancer, heart disease and stroke, but a much better rate from —eight per 100,000 population.

Overall, traffic deaths account for about 2 percent of all fatalities from all causes worldwide.

"The results of this study indicate that road safety is a greatly underappreciated component of public health in many parts of the world," Sivak said.

Explore further: Global cancer death toll 50 per cent higher in men than women

More information: The complete study is available online: deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstre … 02989.pdf?sequence=1

Related Stories

Global cancer death toll 50 per cent higher in men than women

February 14, 2014
Global cancer death rates are more than 50 per cent higher in men than women, according to figures published today (Friday) by Cancer Research UK.

Road safety in megacities: Bikers, pedestrians beware

February 7, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Rapid growth of large cities throughout the world is having enormous impact on traffic safety in urban areas, say researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

UN says most of world lags on road safety laws

March 14, 2013
(AP)—The World Health Organization says only 7 percent of the world's population lives in nations where there are adequate road safety laws.

Road fatalities among young and old much improved, but still high

October 26, 2011
Road deaths among young adults and seniors are down nearly 60 percent since 1968, but they still have the highest road fatality rates among all age groups, say University of Michigan researchers.

Lifestyle disorders top health issues in Arab world

January 20, 2014
Heart disease and stroke have replaced infectious disease as the top causes of early death in the Arab world, tracking the West in a trend towards lifestyle disorders, The Lancet reported Monday.

Recommended for you

Juul e-cigarettes pose addiction risk for young users, study finds

October 19, 2018
Teens and young adults who use Juul brand e-cigarettes are failing to recognize the product's addictive potential, despite using it more often than their peers who smoke conventional cigarettes, according to a new study by ...

Adding refined fiber to processed food could have negative health effects

October 19, 2018
Adding highly refined fiber to processed foods could have negative effects on human health, such as promoting liver cancer, according to a new study by researchers at Georgia State University and the University of Toledo.

Self-lubricating latex could boost condom use: study

October 17, 2018
A perpetually unctuous, self-lubricating latex developed by a team of scientists in Boston could boost the use of condoms, they reported Wednesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

How healthy will we be in 2040?

October 17, 2018
A new scientific study of forecasts and alternative scenarios for life expectancy and major causes of death in 2040 shows all countries are likely to experience at least a slight increase in lifespans. In contrast, one scenario ...

Study finds evidence of intergenerational transmission of trauma among ex-POWs from the Civil War

October 16, 2018
A trio of researchers affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research has found evidence that suggests men who were traumatized while POWs during the U.S. Civil War transmitted that trauma to their offspring—many ...

Father's nicotine use can cause cognitive problems in children and grandchildren

October 16, 2018
A father's exposure to nicotine may cause cognitive deficits in his children and even grandchildren, according to a study in mice publishing on October 16 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Pradeep Bhide of Florida ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.