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. Design

    There’s a Tile Theft Epidemic in Lisbon

    With a single azulejo fetching hundreds of euros at the city’s more reputable antique stores, these tiles, sitting there out in the open, are easy pickings.

  2. Transportation

    You Can’t Design Bike-Friendly Cities Without Considering Race and Class

    Bike equity is a powerful tool for reducing inequality. Too often, cycling infrastructure is tailored only to wealthy white cyclists.

  3. Multi-colored maps of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Tampa, denoting neighborhood fragmentation
    Equity

    Urban Neighborhoods, Once Distinct by Race and Class, Are Blurring

    Yet in cities, affluent white neighborhoods and high-poverty black ones are outliers, resisting the fragmentation shown with other types of neighborhoods.

  4. Equity

    Capturing Black Bottom, a Detroit Neighborhood Lost to Urban Renewal

    “Black Bottom Street View,” now exhibiting at the Detroit Public Library, thoughtfully displays old images of the historic African American neighborhood in its final days.

  5. Amazon HQ2

    Without Amazon HQ2, What Happens to Housing in Queens?

    The arrival of the tech company’s new headquarters was set to shake up the borough’s real estate market, driving up rents and spurring displacement. Now what?