Which Country Has the Safest Drivers?

by JRO on November 20, 2013

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The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information on the places in the world that have the safest or most dangerous drivers and driving conditions. According to the WHO, 3,400 people are killed daily in road accidents, with annual injuries and disabilities amounting in the tens of millions. The countries that are deemed the most dangerous to drive in, in order of most deadly, are: the Dominican Republic, (with a rate of 2,398 deaths due to traffic accidents per 100,000 people), Thailand, Venezuela, Iran, and Nigeria.

The country that is the safest in the world for drivers is Iceland, which experiences 1/10th of 1 percent of the fatalities that the Dominican Republic does on an annual basis at 2.8 traffic deaths per 100,000 people. The next four countries deemed the safest according to the WHO are Britain, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.

What are the common traits shared by the countries deemed more dangerous for drivers? What are the shared traits of the safest countries? Are there factors that influence driving behavior and make driving more safe or more hazardous? Let’s examine each of these questions.

Factors Shared by Countries Deemed Dangerous for Driving

Countries that have the highest rate of injury and death due to road accidents have some characteristics in common. Male dominated countries like Iran and others with a high rate of vehicle accidents and fatalities (i.e. Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Eritrea) experience higher rates of speeding and disregard for traffic laws. These countries also lack national speeding laws and have little to no traffic law enforcement

Factors Shared by Countries Deemed Safe for Driving

One of the characteristics shared by countries with the safest drivers is a legislative commitment to enforce certain laws and codes of driving behavior. Countries like Germany have minimum driving ages set at 18 and higher penalties for impaired and drunk driving. Northern Europe, Ireland, and Iceland share these characteristics and also have a lower rate of deaths per 100,000 people. Israel has a low rate of fatalities from traffic accidents, and, because of restrictions they place on Palestinians living in the occupied territories, the Palestinian Territories also have a low traffic fatality rate.

Impaired and Distracted Driving

Many countries are concerned about the perils of distracted driving and its relationship to driver safety, accidents, and deaths. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,000 people died in 2011 in accidents caused by distracted drivers. This number rivals the amount of accidents caused by drivers in the United States alone who engage in impaired (drunken) driving. Impaired driving in the United States costs $37 billion on an annual basis and caused over 10,000 deaths in 2010.

When comparing information on accidents and fatalities due to impaired and distracted driving, countries that are active in enforcing laws related to these behaviors fare better than those countries that are not. Countries in Europe, as well as Japan, Israel, and Australia have road fatalities on average that are 6 to 8 times lower (per 100,000 population) than countries that have the worst rates for road fatalities caused by preventable activities like drinking and texting. Countries that promote a culture of driving safety that includes active enforcement prevent more injuries and deaths than those countries that are more lenient or lax in the enforcement of their traffic laws.


Howard Frederickson writes on personal injury, traffic law, criminal defense, prison history, bail bonds and other assorted legal topics. Those who’d like to learn more about the latter are encouraged to visit Brazoria county bail bonds.

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