Joburg drivers among the most dangerous in the world

A new report by the World Resources Institute (WRI) has detailed the world cities where you are most likely to die in a traffic incident.

The report, titled “Cities Safer By Design”, proposes strategies for cities to adopt to reduce the number of traffic fatalities.

The WRI data shows that the Brazilian city of Fortaleza has the most dangerous roads, with 27.2 traffic deaths per 100,000 of the population. Brazil’s cities are shown to be, by far and large, the most dangerous places for road users, taking up nine spots in the top 20.

Chennai, in India, has the second highest death rate at 26.6, followed by Guadalajara, Mexico, with 26.3 fatalities.

Johannesburg, South Africa, is the only local city listed, with 15 deaths per 100,000 people – though it is not the most dangerous African city, which is Nairobi in Kenya, with 18.5 deaths.

Watch: High speed police chase through Joburg streets

The data shows that it’s not necessarily the most populous cities that carry the greatest danger, as New York city, renowned for its busy roads, has a relatively low fatality rate of 3.2 per 100,000 people.

This is on par with Mumbai, India, as well as Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Put into perspective, Joburg’s roads are around five times more dangerous than New York’s, while Fortaleza is over eight times more dangerous.

While the WRI concedes that there are problems with the data due to varying levels of reliability when it comes to city and country data reporting, it does provide the best overview available, as it takes into account WHO data points on top of its own.

World cities with the highest traffic deaths (per 100,000 population)

# City Country Fatalities
1 Fortaleza Brazil 27.2
2 Chennai India 26.6
3 Guadalajara Mexico 26.3
4 Jaipur India 25.5
5 Florianopolis Brazil 22.6
6 Belo Horizonte Brazil 22.5
7 Brasilla Brazil 20.9
8 Curitiba Brazil 20.0
9 Nairobi Kenya 18.5
10 Salvador Brazil 16.7
11 Rio de Janeiro Brazil 16.7
12 Monterey USA 16.0
13 Johannesburg South Africa 15.0
14 Leon Spain 13.2
15 Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam 13.1
16 Indore India 13.0
17 Puebla Mexico 12.9
18 Sao Paulo Brazil 11.8
19 Porto Alegre Brazil 11.6
20 Montevideo Uruguay 10.4

Among the WRI’s proposals to improve traffic safety are better management of arterial routes – the routes feeding traffic into and around the city – emphasising use of mass transport, walking and bicycling in the cities, and most importantly, reducing speed limits.

According to the report, the fatality risk for pedestrians with vehicles travelling at 50km/h is double than the risk at 40km/h, and five times greater than at 30km/h.

South Africa has already taken steps to improve road safety through latter most method, having proposed new, reduced speed limits.

The government wants to reduce the general speed limit from 60km/h to 40km/h on every public road, or section thereof, situated within an urban area.

The Department of Transport has gazetted legislation – which includes other traffic proposals – in hopes to implement new speed limits on South Africa’s roads by the end of the year.

Speed vs fatality
Speed vs fatality

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When you can expect new 40km/h speed limits for South Africa

Government wants to reduce speed limit to 40km/h

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Joburg drivers among the most dangerous in the world