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Worldwide traffic safety and roadway accident statistics

We often look at local or national car accident statistics. But worldwide car accident statistics are more difficult to come by.

The World Health Organization recently released information about worldwide traffic-related deaths. This includes car drivers and passengers as well as pedestrians, bicyclists, etc. Some of the interesting statistics were:


  • 1.35 million people worldwide suffered traffic-related deaths in 2016
  • The leading cause of death worldwide for individuals ages 5 to 29 is car accidents
  • Worldwide, there are, on average, 18 traffic-related deaths per 100,000 population
  • Individuals living in low-income countries are three times more likely to die in traffic accidents than those living in high-income countries
  • The areas with the fewest car accidents are North America and Europe; The areas with the most car accidents are Southeast Asia and Africa

Although the number of traffic-related deaths worldwide is rising, the rate is decreasing, considering the rising global population and increase in the number of motor vehicles worldwide.

Road traffic safety across the world

The study also looked at road traffic safety laws in different countries. A total of 175 countries participated in the Global Status Report On Road Safety. The study also found that:

  • Speed limit laws are in place in 169 countries – that covers 97 percent of the world’s population
  • 174 participating countries have drunk driving laws in place
  • 140 participating countries have road safety strategies in place, but only 132 of those are funded

It’s impossible to compare one country to another when it comes to road traffic safety. There are too many independent factors at play – roadway design, traffic safety laws,  road conditions, climate, driver experience, population, etc.

But nonetheless, these statistics are interesting, giving us a glimpse into something that connects people across the world – driving.