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What If Safe Driving Was an Olympic Sport?
Posted By Julie Lee On July 30, 2012 @ 10:00 am In Livable Communities | No Comments
Competition is in the air as the 2012 Summer Olympics have officially kicked off. This year, over 200 countries will compete in 300 events including swimming, basketball, gymnastics and tennis. But at AARP Driver Safety, we can’t help but wonder: what if safe driving was an Olympic sport-which country would take home the gold medal? Which countries have the safest drivers, roads, and why?
According to the World Health Organization, the Marshall Islands have the safest roads by far. In 2007, there were only 1.7 road traffic deaths per 100,000 people. Second and third place go to Malta and Uruguay, with respective rates 3.4 and 4.3.
Here’s a list of the top 10 countries with the safest roads, according to their road fatality rate per 100,000 people:
While the U.S. is a strong competitor in the Olympic Games, it turns out that we wouldn’t get very far in the “safe driving” event. Among the 178 countries listed, the U.S. is ranked 66, with an average of 13.9 road fatalities per 100,000 people a year.
What makes their roads so much safer than ours?
Income level plays an important role in driver safety. Over 90% of the deaths on the roads occur in low-income and middle-income countries, which have only 48% of the world’s registered vehicles (WHO). But income isn’t the only factor.
Having compared the U.S. to several countries with a lower traffic fatality rate, here are three key contributors that could easily be changed.
While cars and roads are constantly evolving to become safer for drivers and pedestrians, remember that the most important safety feature is a safe driver. You can refresh your driving skills by taking the AARP Driver Safety course, available in a classroom or online.
Can you think of any other important factors that may contribute to certain countries having safer roads? Have you driven in other countries, and if so, what have you noticed?
Image thanks to Guillaume Tassart.
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