Reuters

The southeast Asian country has become a hotbed of road deaths.

Sure, the roads are dangerous here in America. As the indisputable world champ of driving, we've typically set a high bar for horribly deadly roads. And, according to a new report [PDF] from the International Traffic Safety Data and Analysis Group (or IRTAD), we're still number one, with more than 32,000 road deaths in 2010. USA! USA!

But before we get too comfortable with this unfortunate notoriety, we should know that there's competition out there. Malaysia, according to the IRTAD report, is a rising star in the world of dangerous roads. In 2010, 6,872 traffic deaths were reported in this country of 29 million, the second highest number of fatalities in the reports' 34 country survey.

Malaysia is one of only three countries to see an increase in road fatalities between 2001 and 2010. They grew 13.9 percent during that time, which is not as bad as the 16 percent growth in Argentina and hardly noticeable compared to the 295 percent increase in Cambodia.

Malaysia has the report;s highest rate of traffic deaths per 100,000 residents, at 23.8. Cambodia is a not-too-close second at 12.7 deaths per 100,000. America's rate is 10.6. The average of the 34 countries included in the report is 7.4.

The report cites the rapid rise of vehicle ownership in the country, which nearly doubled from 10.5 million in 2000 to 20.1 million in 2010.

Motorcyclists represent 60 percent of all road deaths in Malaysia. That figure has been growing an average of 2 percent annually since 2000. And as this graph shows, the impact is getting worse.

Most of these deaths occur on rural roads, where compliance with a mandatory helmet law is about 50 percent, compared with 90 percent in urban areas. If the rise in vehicle ownership rates continues, the problem is likely to grow in Malaysia.

Photo credit: Bazuki Muhammad / Reuters; Graph from IRTAD

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Coronavirus

    The Post-Pandemic Urban Future Is Already Here

    The coronavirus crisis stands to dramatically reshape cities around the world. But the biggest revolutions in urban space may have begun before the pandemic.

  2. A pedestrian wearing a protective face mask walks past a boarded up building in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Governors from coast to coast Friday told Americans not to leave home except for dire circumstances and ordered nonessential business to shut their doors.
    Equity

    The Geography of Coronavirus

    What do we know so far about the types of places that are more susceptible to the spread of Covid-19? In the U.S., density is just the beginning of the story.

  3. An African healthcare worker takes her time washing her hands due to a virus outbreak/.
    Coronavirus

    Why You Should Stop Joking That Black People Are Immune to Coronavirus

    There’s a fatal history behind the claim that African Americans are more resistant to diseases like Covid-19 or yellow fever.

  4. Perspective

    Coronavirus Reveals Transit’s True Mission

    Now more than ever, public transportation is not just about ridership. Buses, trains, and subways make urban civilization possible.

  5. Coronavirus

    The Coronavirus Class Divide in Cities

    Places like New York, Miami and Las Vegas have a higher share of the workforce in jobs with close proximity to others, putting them at greater Covid-19 risk.

×