According to the latest WHO estimates, around 1.25 million people died from road traffic injuries in 2013, with another 20–50 million people sustaining non-fatal injuries as a result of road traffic collisions or crashes.
Road traffic injuries are the ninth leading cause of death globally, and the leading cause among people age 15–29 years. Almost 60% of road traffic deaths occur among people aged 15–44 years.
South Africa has the 42nd highest road mortality rate in the world, with 25.1 road deaths per 100,000 population.
While this is a relatively high ranking on a global scale, it is evident that it is part of a larger African problem, as the South Africa “only” ranks 34th on the continent.
By far African nations dominate the list of highest road deaths, though the top spot belongs to Libya, with 73.4 road mortalities per 100,000 people.
This is followed by Venezuela (45.1 per 100,000) and Thailand (36.2 per 100,000). Malawi has the most dangerous roads in Africa with 35 deaths per 100,000 people.
“Over 90% of road traffic deaths occur in low-middle income countries, which account for 82% of the world’s population, but only 54% of the world’s registered vehicles,” the WHO said.
“Several factors are at work, including poor or poorly implemented regulations, inadequate road and vehicle quality, a higher proportion of vulnerable road users and increasing vehicle numbers.”
The 15 worst countries to drive in
|#||Country||Road deaths (per 100,000)|
|13||Soa Tome and Principe||31.1|
South African road dangers
Despite its relatively low ranking on the continent for road deaths, South Africa has a reputation for having the some of the most dangerous roads in the world.
Transport related injuries – including road deaths – are one of the 10 biggest killers in the country.
Worryingly, a Global Status report by the WHO in 2015 found that South Africa has the highest prevalence of road deaths associated with alcohol abuse.
According to a 2015 report by the World Resources Institute, Johannesburg has some of the most dangerous roads in the world, ranking as the 13th most likely place to die on the road.
Put into a global perspective, Joburg’s roads are around five times more dangerous than New York’s roads.
Statistics released by local authorities have shown that, contrary to popular belief, minibus taxis are not the main cause of road accidents in the country, with most crashes and fatalities happening with small motor vehicles.
A recent clamp-down on traffic crimes found that a large portion of drivers around Johannesburg neglect to wear a seat-belt, which is one of the leading causes of fatalities in road accidents, according to Arrive Alive.