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Road safety in 170 low-, middle-, and high-income countries

Earlier this year, the World Health Organization published a comprehensive assessment of road safety in the individual countries of the world (WHO, 2013). The present study used the WHO data for individual countries but focused on differences based on the level of development. The goal was to identify relevant commonalities that may assist in the creation of road-safety policies common to countries at a similar level of development. The countries were divided into three groups according to the level of gross national income per capita, and these income-level groups were the primary units of interest. The results presented here focus on the differences by income level both in motor-vehicle fatality rates and in a variety of factors associated with road safety. The results indicate that the fatality rate per vehicle decreases as income level increases, while the fatality rate per person is an inverted-U-shaped function of income level. Percentage of pedestrian fatalities out of all fatalities decreases as income level increases. Income-level effects were also found for 31 aspects related to institutional framework, safer roads and mobility, safer vehicles, safer road users, and post-crash care. The report also includes an exploratory regression of the fatality rate per vehicle.