|Dangerous driving illustration|
(Scroll down for video) Driving is inherently dangerous the world over, and the statistics show. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that about 1.24 million people die every year from fatalities on the road. Low and middle-income countries with only half of the world's cars report 91 percent of the road accidents. Only seven percent of the world's population, residing in just 28 countries, are covered by driving safety laws. You need to know what you will encounter when traveling to different countries.
Driving Around the World
Ten countries account for almost 50 percent of the fatal driving accidents around the world, writes the Washington Post. India tops that list, followed by China and the U.S. in total number of accidents. However, when looking at the number of accidents per capita, countries such as Nigeria, Pakistan and Philippines come closer to the top.
The implementation of driving laws in each American state has brought road fatalities down to 10.3 per 100,000 people in comparison to 26 per 100,000 in the early 1970s, the Pulitzer Center reports. Unfortunately, there is still a significantly high number of deaths in the teen category, due to drinking while driving. The use of mobile devices for talking and texting are also creating an increase in the number of fatalities.
In many low-income countries, there are no laws governing driver education. In Nigeria, you can simply buy a driver's license. Most people learn how to drive from family members or were self-taught. Some drivers are barely old enough to reach the controls on the car.
WHO estimates there were close to 30,000 road fatalities in 2010 in Pakistan. More than 12,000 people died in motorcycle accidents. More than 90 percent were not wearing helmets, even though the country has a national helmet law. Observers say there are a number of factors, including roadway congestion and no turn signals or passing lanes. The road is shared by high-speed buses, large SUVs, large construction trucks, motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, donkey carts, livestock and pedestrians. Each are trying to cut a path through traffic for themselves.
The National Crime Records Bureau in India says most of the accidents here are caused by drunk driving. The larger problem is the number of vehicles on the road. Traffic regulations exist, but are rarely enforced, especially in the larger cities. The presence of more than 80 million bicycles, scooters and motorcycles, which rarely follow the rules, makes driving treacherous here.
In the mid-70s, Australia reported a road fatality rate of 30 per 100,000 of the population. Clearer driving regulations and better enforcement have brought this down to six per 100,000, an 80 percent reduction.
A survey of drivers by Private Fleet did show that Australian men tend to be the worst drivers, while women topped the list of people who text while driving, and young adults were most likely to talk on a mobile phone while driving.
Australian drivers can protect themselves with a number of insurance options. Websites such as comparethemarket.com.au allow drivers to compare many different insurance plans, and select the one that works best for their situation.
More than 12,000 deaths occur on the road in Egypt every year. Poorly maintained roads that are over capacity with vehicles is a big problem. Driving is often self-taught, and the license requires no driving test. People ignore the few traffic signals and will drive the wrong way, on sidewalks and pedestrian walkways to get to where they are going.
This country struggles with the number of new cars and drivers that have hit their roadways. They report almost five times the fatalities as other European countries. A lack of law enforcement is the biggest complaint, especially in cases of drunk driving.