China's Road Safety Epidemic Attributed To Unskilled Drivers

With one third the number of cars on the road as U.S., China has at least twice the fatality rate. Most vehicles are designed in the West, and driven a similar amount. Road conditions as well as driver and pedestrian error are blamed for crashes.
July 27, 2011, 9am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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The day before China's first high speed rail crash on July 23 killing 39 (apparently decreased from original report of 43), an intercity bus in Henan Province caught fire killing 41, yet received little attention from international media. China's real safety problem lies not on its rails but on its roads according to this NYT report.

It's the leading cause of mortality in China for those under the age of 45, according to public health experts. "And the highway death rate could rise more, given that vehicle sales have soared tenfold in the past decade, with tens of millions of drivers, many of them poorly trained, taking to the roads for the first time."

Unlike carefully reported traffic deaths in the U.S., "only a small fraction of all traffic deaths in China show up in official figures because of widespread underreporting by the local police."

Thanks to Mark Boshnack

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Published on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 in The New York Times - Asia Pacific
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