Traffic Deaths Drop to Lowest in 40 Years

      July 27, 2015 12:46

      The number of traffic deaths fell below 10 per 100,000 people for the first time in 40 years. Last year the number fell to 9.4 from 10.1 in 2013, according to a report released by the National Police Agency on Sunday.

      Since the 1970s, the number of cars on the roads has been rising exponentially and traffic accidents have grown apace, bringing traffic deaths per 100,000 people to a peak of 31.1 in 1991.

      But observation of traffic rules and safety measures have improved since then and road deaths are dwindling.

      The number is still higher than the OECD average, which dropped from 10.2 in 2003 to 6.5 in 2012. The number of deaths per 10,000 cars declined sharply to two last year.

      Seoul and Incheon had the fewest with 1.1 each, while at the other end of the spectrum was South Jeolla Province with 3.6 and South Chungcheong Province with 3.3.

      Traffic deaths occurred most frequently in fall with 9.9 percent in October and 10 percent in November. February was the month with the fewest fatalities at 6.8 percent.

      The No. 1 cause of traffic fatalities was disregard of safety rules at 70.8 percent, including drowsy driving, reckless driving, failure to look ahead, and inexperienced driving.

      Next came intentional violations such as crossing the median line (8.1 percent), disregard of traffic signals (7.5 percent), and speeding (3.8 percent).

      Experienced drivers are more likely to die than newbies. The fatality rate was 1.9 percent among those who had their driver's license for less than a year but 2.1 percent among those with a driver's license held for 10-15 years and 2.2 percent among those who had their license for more than 15 years.

      "The more experienced they are, the more frequently drivers tend to ignore traffic rules," a police officer said.

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