Ilse de Lange
1 minute read
19 Sep 2013
7:00 am

1.3 million die on the world’s roads

Ilse de Lange

Road fatalities are a major contributor to unnatural deaths with an estimated 1,3 million people dying on the world's roads every year.

Image courtesy Chance Agrella/

Statistics gathered by the Road Traffic Management Corporations (RTMC) shows that about 3 200 are killed on roads around the world every day, of which South Africa contributes about 40 deaths per day, or 14 000 deaths per year.

The country’s mortality rate of 28 per 100 000 citizens is one of the worst in the world. It is also the largest unnatural killer of children in South Africa. The most badly affected by traffic accidents are the poor.

Road accidents have become recognised internationally as a social and economic burden, particularly in developing countries. According to the RTMC’s preliminary figures, the number of fatalities on South Africa’s roads was 13 768 in 2009, increased to 13 967 in 2010 and dropped to 13 954 in 2011.

The preliminary number of fatalities for 2012 was considerably lower at 12 211. The majority of fatalities in these accidents were pedestrians, with 4 978 of them killed in 2011 against 4 189 drivers and 4 787 passengers.

Human error caused most of the fatalities, with more than 60% of all accidents occurring over weekends, starting on Friday.

Most accidents occurred between 4pm and 10pm.