More than 200,000 road deaths a year in China: WHO

May 6, 2015

More than 200,000 people are killed on China's notoriously dangerous roads every year, the World Health Organisation said Wednesday—at least four times official government statistics.

Writing in the government-published China Daily newspaper, the WHO's representative in the country Bernhard Schwartlaender said the estimated deaths were "entirely preventable".

"In China, over 10,000 children under 15 years of age die each year as a result of injuries sustained in a road crash," he added. "Many more are severely injured."

The WHO's 2013 global status report on road safety estimated Chinese road deaths at 275,983 in 2010.

Government data for road deaths in China are shrouded in secrecy, like many statistics in the country, and the WHO figures are strikingly higher than official pronouncements.

The most recent figures available from the ministry of transport, cited by a vice-minister at a forum, said 60,000 people were killed on the roads in 2012—less than a quarter of the estimate in the WHO document.

China's National Bureau of Statistics said in February that last year road traffic deaths ran at a rate of 2.22 people per 10,000 vehicles.

It said separately that there were a total of 154.47 million vehicles available for civilian use in the period.

Those figures imply at least 34,292 road deaths in 2014—less than an eighth of the WHO estimate.

Fatal road accidents are a serious problem in China, where traffic regulations are often flouted.

The country's frequently overcrowded long-distance buses are prone to accidents, with individual incidents regularly causing dozens of deaths.

In July last year, 43 people died when a van carrying inflammable liquid hit a bus on a motorway in central China.

In August, a tour bus plunged into a valley in Tibet after hitting two vehicles, leaving 44 people dead and 11 injured.

Schwartlaender said China was making "some progress" with laws but added: "It is not enough to adopt laws. They must also be properly and rigorously enforced."

According to the WHO report, China's estimated traffic-related death rate of 20.5 per 100,000 people was in line with the 20.1 average for middle-income countries, but higher than the 8.7 seen in high-income nations.

Explore further: Pollution, smoking, roads, obesity kill 4.7m Chinese a year

Related Stories

Pollution, smoking, roads, obesity kill 4.7m Chinese a year

August 29, 2014
Air pollution, smoking, obesity and accidents, especially on the road, kill at least 4.7 million Chinese a year and cost the country tens of billions of dollars, researchers said on Friday.

Dutch approve large-scale testing of self-driving cars

January 23, 2015
The Dutch government on Friday approved large-scale testing of self-driving cars and trucks on public roads, saying the technology could greatly reduce traffic jams and improve road safety.

Mapping global road risk

February 21, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—The next time you go to Africa or the Middle East, you may want to stay off the roads.

U.S. pedestrian death rate leveling off, but still too high

February 26, 2015
(HealthDay)—The number of pedestrians killed on U.S. roads is expected to remain unchanged from 2013 to 2014, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).

Recommended for you

Motorcycle crashes cause five times as many deaths as car accidents, six times the health costs

November 20, 2017
Motorcycle accidents are costly in terms of lives and health care costs. Compared with car accidents, motorcycle accidents cause 3 times the injuries, 6 times the medical costs and 5 times the deaths, found new research in ...

New shoe makes running 4 percent easier, 2-hour marathon possible, study shows

November 17, 2017
Eleven days after Boulder-born Shalane Flanagan won the New York City Marathon in new state-of-the-art racing flats known as "4%s," University of Colorado Boulder researchers have published the study that inspired the shoes' ...

Vaping while pregnant could cause craniofacial birth defects, study shows

November 16, 2017
Using e-cigarettes during pregnancy could cause birth defects of the oral cavity and face, according to a recent Virginia Commonwealth University study.

Study: For older women, every movement matters

November 16, 2017
Folding your laundry or doing the dishes might not be the most enjoyable parts of your day. But simple activities like these may help prolong your life, according to the findings of a new study in older women led by the University ...

When vegetables are closer in price to chips, people eat healthier, study finds

November 16, 2017
When healthier food, like vegetables and dairy products, is pricier compared to unhealthy items, like salty snacks and sugary sweets, Americans are significantly less likely to have a high-quality diet, a new Drexel University ...

Children's exposure to secondhand smoke may be vastly underestimated by parents

November 15, 2017
Four out of 10 children in the US are exposed to secondhand smoke, according to the American Heart Association. A new Tel Aviv University study suggests that parents who smoke mistakenly rely on their own physical senses ...

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.