Gap in police, official figures as road death toll rises in China

Featured - August 30th, 2012

China’s rapid economic growth has brought more roads and transportation, but it has also meant road accidents. China seems to be loosing control.

Two separate accidents killed at least 47 people in two days, raising concerns on China’s road safety. A double-decker sleeper bus burst into flames after colliding with a tanker carrying methanol in northwest Shaanxi province. At least 36 people died. A speeding truck rammed into a Toyota van, also in Shaanxi, on Monday leaving 9 dead and causing a pile-up of four vehicles.

The Traffic Administration Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security recorded a 5% decrease in road accident deaths from 27,270 in the first half of last year to 25,864 of the same period this year. But police figures are even lower, according to the World Health Organization. The disparity between official figures and police claims is a road block.

Fei Deng of the World Bank Group’s sustainable development department for East Asia and Pacific Region told the Journal that the country needs to address its lack of public awareness about road safety, poor enforcement, poor training for drivers and low infrastructure safety standards. Ms. Fei also said that road accidents impact the economy as people lose “lives and the ability to work”.