Accessibility links

Breaking News

The Mortality Rate for Road Accidents Drops in Russia and Europe

Vladimir Kolokoltsev

Vladimir Kolokoltsev

Russian Minister of Internal Affairs

“In recent years, mortality [in road accidents] has decreased in this country. From 19 people per 100,000 population, it has already fallen to 13 people, but... the final goals we set are even more stringent: to 4 people per 100,000 population.”

The current level in Russia may have slightly decreased, but the ultimate goal is to reach the current levels of such countries as Germany or Finland.

This fact check was adapted from

In March of this year alone there were 10,058 road accidents in Russia), which killed 934 people, according to the traffic police. For all of 2018, there were 168,099 road accidents in Russia, in which 18,214 people died.

Comparing the total number of victims of last year's road accidents with the average population of Russia during the year according to Rosstat’s estimate, we get a so-called “social risk” indicator (the number of deaths in road accidents per 100,000 people) of 12.4, which is lower than the number cited by Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev.

Lacking official estimates for the year before,'s own calculations show the mortality rate for traffic accidents for 2017 was 13 deaths per 100,000 people, similar to the number given in the datasheet for the “Safe and Quality Roads” national project approved in December 2018.

A “plan” to further reduce the “social risk” indicator for road accidents down to not higher than 4 people per 100,000 population by 2024 – was put forward in the decree “On national objectives and strategic tasks of the Russian Federation’s development in the period up to 2024” which President Vladimir Putin signed in May 2018.

In general, the “social risk” indicator for road accidents has decreased two-fold in Russia over the past 15 years. We also found long-term data from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), seen in this graph:

Still, the Russian figure remains 2.5 times higher than the average for the 28 countries of the European Union (the latest Eurostat data is for 2017):

As the graph shows, the countries which in 2017 had road accident mortality rates matching Russia’s declared goal of 4 people per 100,000 or less by 2024 were Sweden, Great Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Ireland, Estonia, Germany and Spain.

It is interesting to note that in 1994, the road-accident mortality rate in Germany was 12.1 per 100,000, close to Russia’s 2017 rate, judging by OECD data. That means it took Germany nearly a quarter of a century to reduce its rate three-fold to its 3.9 per 100,000 in 2017. During that same period, Italy reduced its rate of road accident fatalities from 12.5 to 5.6; Slovakia lowered its rate from 12.7 to 5.1; and Romania lowered its rate from 12.6 to 9.9.

On average, the worldwide mortality rate due to road accidents for the three years from 2013 to 2016 decreased from 18.3 to 18.2 people per 100,000 population, according to estimates presented by the World Health Organization (WHO) in a special review in December 2018.

The WHO uses its own calculation methodology. In particular, while statistics from the OECD, the European Union and Russia include deaths occurring within the first 30 days after an accident, WHO experts take into account all such deaths, regardless of how much time has passed. There are other peculiarities, so the WHO's estimates may differ markedly from others.

A recent WHO report on this topic covered 175 countries. If its figures were used to rank countries in terms of the “social risk” of road accidents, Russia would be in 72nd place -- slightly below the world average.

The following graph shows the 15 countries with the highest road accident death rates and the 15 lowest road accident death rates, and, below that, the road accident death rate for the G20 countries:

​Up to 35% of all the world’s fatal traffic accidents are associated with alcohol consumption, according to the WHO. However, the WHO’s statistics regarding fatal traffic accidents involving alcohol consumption cover only 93 countries. Below, we show the number of fatal traffic accidents per 100,000 population for 34 countries and, next to it, a separate chart showing the number of fatal traffic accidents per 100,000 population for 13 former Soviet states: