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Australia’s road fatality rates are about half those of the US and South Korea, but almost twice as bad as Sweden and the UK.

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Latest figures released this week show that our rate sits 15th among 32 member countries contributing to the International Road Traffic and Accident Database (IRTAD).

In a study released this week at the 2015 International Transport Forum in Leipzig, it was revealed that Australia recorded 5.1 road deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in 2013 — the latest year that figures are available.

This matches France, is about half that of the US (10.3) and South Korea (10.1), and is moderately better than Canada (5.5), New Zealand (5.7) and Italy (5.7).

Your chances of dying in a road crash in Sweden (2.7), the UK (2.8) or Switzerland (3.3) are significantly lower, however, as well as Germany (4.1) — a country with sections of unlimited-speed Autobahns.

Roads are most dangerous in Argentina and Chile (among IRTAD countries) where the rate is 12.3 and 12.0 respectively. Seat belts are not mandated in all parts of the countries, and the road network is less sophisticated.

Sweden and the UK also recorded fewer road fatalities per billion vehicle-kilometres in 2013 than any others (about 3.0), while the Czech Republic (15.5) and Korea (17.5) were worst. Australia, with its vast distances, performed slightly ahead of the median at 5.0.

The figures also show that road deaths in Australia fell about 35.0 per cent between 2000 and 2013, against an overall reduction amongst IRTAD members of 42.0 per cent over the same period. Read more on that in our separate story here.

It is worth noting that the IRTAD Group’s current members account for only 6.0 per cent of global road fatalities, with notables such as China and India not participating.

“It is our intention to pursue our geographical expansion and to assist countries interested in building up and improving their road safety data system,” said IRTAD-Group chair Fred Wegman.

IRTAD also made clear that the “encouraging results” between 2000 and 2013 should not hide the fact that every year 1.3 million people are killed and tens of millions are injured, 90 per cent of them in low and middle income countries.

Road deaths per 100,000 people (IRTAD figures):

  1. Sweden 2.7
  2. United Kingdom 2.8
  3. Switzerland 3.3
  4. Netherlands 3.4
  5. Denmark 3.4
  6. Israel 3.4
  7. Spain 3.6
  8. Norway 3.7
  9. Japan 4
  10. Ireland 4.1
  11. Germany 4.1
  12. Iceland 4.7
  13. Finland 4.8
  14. France 5.1
  15. Australia 5.1
  16. Austria 5.4
  17. Canada 5.5
  18. New Zealand 5.7
  19. Italy 5.7
  20. Hungary 6
  21. Portugal 6.1
  22. Slovenia 6.1
  23. Czech Republic 6.2
  24. Belgium 6.5
  25. Greece 7.9
  26. Luxembourg 8.4
  27. Lithuania 8.7
  28. Poland 8.7
  29. Korea 10.1
  30. USA 10.3
  31. Chile 12
  32. Argentina 12.3

Note: The headline of this story originally read 'Australia's road fatality rates detailed'.

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