Driving is the most common form of transport in the world, the billion mark for the number of cars on the road worldwide was surpassed in 2011. Perhaps because of this, driving is seen as safe, which can lead to safety being taken for granted, however, the chances of dying in a motor vehicle accident are 1-in-100, whereas the chances of dying in a commercial airline accident are closer to 1-in-20,000.
The roads in the UK, however, are some of the safest in the world. Despite the large increase in traffic on the roads since the 1980s, traffic accident numbers have fallen massively since this time. In the mid-80s the number of people killed in traffic accidents was about 5,500 per year, the figure in 2011 was much lower, dropping to only around 2,000 fatal traffic accidents annually.
The UK’s figures compare well with the rest of the world. Globally there are around 1.2 million fatal traffic accidents a year. Per 100,000 cars on our roads in the UK, the figure for fatal accidents is just 7. In the US, this number is over twice that, at 15%. The country with the most fatalities per car is Togo, with over 14,000 per 100,000 cars. In Europe, Ukraine has the worst safety record with 153 per 100,000 cars.
Of course, most traffic accidents do not result in death, plenty cause injuries of varying degrees. During a car accident, a lot of force is put on the body, and the back, neck and head are particularly vulnerable during a crash. Road accidents injuries involving these areas of the body are some of the most common and debilitating.
Reducing the number of accidents
Unfortunately, accidents on the road seem to be accepted as just a part of life and largely unpreventable. However, likelihood of someone having to make a back injury claim, or a neck injury claim, or any other type of claim, could be greatly reduced if driving standards were improved.
Of the 1,901 people killed in road accidents in 2011 in the UK, 1280 involved crashes where the law had been broken in some way. In Italy, in 2004, the importance of driving within the law was highlighted. To mark World Driving Safety Day, the Italian Government set a target of trying to have an entire day without any road deaths or even injuries.
Italy has a below average number of deaths per cars rate, at 12 per 100,000, however, by the early hours, one person had already died, with another dying during the morning rush hour. However, by the end of the day, the final figure of 12 deaths was a third lower than the average.
Although in actual terms the day was a failure, statistics suggest that it was, in some part at least, a success. What this day showed was that to reduce traffic accidents, there is a need for a collective consciousness working together to try to improve driving standards and stick to the law. The laws are there are there to protect people, but they can only do this if they are adhered to.