Many of us wonder about traffic deaths in Taiwan; statistics are difficult to find (most of what’s reported is in Chinese). One of the only decent raw resources can be found here, and it’s from 1993.
So what was Taiwan like twenty years ago?
A study was done of 4,329 traffic injury reports and the following statistics were discovered.
There were 1,652 traffic injuries for every 100,000 people; 2.5% of the men and 1.7% of the women died.
Taiwan had 21,000,000 people in 1993; that’s around 7,800 deaths from traffic accidents in 1993.
This means that there were 37.1 traffic deaths in Taiwan per 100,000 people.
To put that in perspective, Iraq currently has 38.1 per year and Afghanistan has 39. Those are countries where explosives are planted on roadways.
Modern Taiwan is better, according to Taiwan’s Road Traffic Safety Commission (RTSC): in 2009, they claimed there were 17.5 traffic deaths in Taiwan per every 100,000 people. They also found the same as the medical report analysis in 1993: 60% of deaths came from people on scooters/motorcycles and 20% were pedestrians.
But better is relative. Malaysia has 24.1 per 100k and South Africa has a frightening 33.2. However, the USA has 12.3, Canada has 9.2, and Germany has 4.5.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communication (MOTC) actively tries to hide this fact by using skewed statistical data from the International Road Federation (IRF); I have no idea where the RTSC got their data, back in 2009, but it looked like the branches of the ROC government were all running around trying to save face.
Suffice it to say, Taiwan is not the most dangerous place in the world to drive. But it’s far from the safest. There are a lot of traffic deaths in Taiwan. Japan only has 3.85 deaths per 100k while the Philippines has 20; Taiwan, at 17.5, is much closer to its southeast Asian neighbors like the Philippines (20), Thailand (19.6), and Vietnam (16.1), than it is to the other Four Tigers, the Republic of Korea (11.3), Singapore (4.8), and Hong Kong (1.7).
Keep your hands and feet on the brakes and Rain-X on your windows, everybody.
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