The latest OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) the authoritative source for cross international highway fatality data released periodically, reported 2012 highway fatality data recently.

The results of U.S. performance versus 23 other nations reporting is, in a word: gruesome.

Note only has the U.S. fallen from 6th of 24 nations in fatality rates to 15th since 2000--six nations have roughly half the fatality of the U.S. now. In other words, we have at least 15,000 EXCESS fatalities than the "best six"--Iceland, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the UK.   The U.S, performance can be be seen by looking at the longer trend--the U.S. was number one, the safest roads, among the 14 nations reported in 1970--the French rate just over three times the U.S. rate in 1970 while it 2012 comes in at 10% less than the U.S. (France has the most roundabouts of any nation).  

The rates per mile/km of vehicle travel represent the best data and are buried deep into the report for a reason--they are embarrassing to any nation dropping through the ranks like the U.S..  And show superior performance by nations at the bottom decades ago.  

Fatality rates per vehicle mile/km work well as they obviously catch the bulk of all walk and bike mode fatalities.  How impressive it is those Scandinavian nations, Holland others in Western Europe with high proportions of walk/bike modes trips and the obvious vulnerability of the cross section of the population represented while most U.S. travel occurs in the car cocoon--and those nations still beat the U.S. by wide margins!

The dismal U.S. performance where we are trying to foster more walking and bicycling suggests we should not stand for less than the safest walk/bike infrastructure.  No compromises on safe walk/bike infrastructure decisions.

The report is available at this website:


Tony Redington

========== VTBIKEPEDPOLICY-L: The Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy Discussion List Subscription control: For help: email [log in to unmask] with the word "help" in the message body.