Road traffic deaths in China have soared almost 100 percent in 20 years

Jun 05, 2008

The number of road traffic deaths in China has soared almost 100% in two decades, reveals a study published in the journal Injury Prevention.

The pattern was not restricted to areas of major urbanisation and development, but was also seen in rural locations and sparsely populated areas, the findings show.

In 1990, road traffic injuries became the ninth leading cause of death and disability worldwide. They are set to shoot up to third place by 2020.

In China, the largest developing country in the world, road traffic injuries are already the leading cause of death in people up to the age of 45.

The authors used national statistics on transport and deaths police reports, and data on regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP), road quality, and the number of vehicles in each of the 31 provinces to inform their analysis and map the geographic distribution of road deaths between 1985 and 2005.

The findings showed that road traffic deaths increased 95% from 3.9 to 7.6 per 100 000 of the population between 1985 and 2005.

During this time, the number of cars on the road increased 9-fold, and the number of other vehicles, principally motorcycles, jumped by a factor of 54.

There was no link between the rate of deaths and regional GDP, road quality, or the average number of road vehicles in the province.

In general, the regions with the lowest population density had the highest overall death rates per 100 000 motor vehicles.

But the largest increases in death rates occurred in economically well developed provinces, but also in under developed and rural provinces.

Deaths in well developed areas can be explained by higher numbers of road vehicles, say the authors.

In less developed areas, the toll is likely to be explained by poor quality roads, making it difficult to access prompt medical care, a lesser degree of medical expertise, and greater vulnerability to injury as pedestrians and cyclists.

The authors note that the death rate levelled off slightly in 2002 and 2003, after having risen sharply in previous years, but this is not likely to be sustained as China's economic development continues at a rapid pace, and vehicle ownership grows, they say.

China's GDP increased by almost 11% in 2005, and road traffic deaths are expected to rise a further 92% between 2000 and 2020, especially as half of drivers don't wear seat belts.

Source: British Medical Journal

Explore further: Is UK shale gas extraction posing a risk to public health?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Five dead as magnitude-8.2 quake hits northern Chile

Apr 02, 2014

A powerful magnitude-8.2 earthquake struck off northern Chile on Tuesday night, setting off a small tsunami that forced evacuations along the country's entire Pacific coast. Five people were crushed to death ...

US files charge against Toyota, $1.2B penalty

Mar 19, 2014

The U.S. government announced a $1.2 billion settlement with Toyota Motor Corp. on Wednesday and filed a criminal charge alleging the company defrauded consumers by issuing misleading statements about safety ...

Improving road safety: Lessons from Europe

Jan 15, 2013

Tougher drunk driving laws, lower speed limits and stricter seat belt laws are the best ways to reduce traffic deaths in the United States, say researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research ...

Recommended for you

Obama: 8 million signed up for health care (Update)

13 hours ago

President Barack Obama said Thursday 8 million Americans have signed up for health care through new insurance exchanges, besting expectations and offering new hope to Democrats who are defending the law ahead ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

Male monkey filmed caring for dying mate (w/ Video)

(Phys.org) —The incident was captured by Dr Bruna Bezerra and colleagues in the Atlantic Forest in the Northeast of Brazil.  Dr Bezerra is a Research Associate at the University of Bristol and a Professor ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.