Africa has the deadliest roads in the world despite having the fewest number of cars per 100,000 people.
According to data gathered by the World Health Organization (WHO), The continent has 5,000 cars for every 100,000 people compared to Europe’s 48,000 in the same size of population, yet Africa has almost three times more road accident deaths.
WHO data further showed that eight out of 10 most dangerous countries in the world for road deaths in 2013 were in Africa, while 40 of the 50 countries with the highest road-death rates across all ages were also from the continent.
These include Libya, Kenya, Ethiopia South Africa and Sudan . Overall, Seychelles boasts one of the safest records on the continent.
In comparison, traffic accidents killed more people than malaria in many African countries in the same year.
This is a grim statistics that could only get worse as more people in Africa entering the middle class afford to buy cars.
The main reason behind the high number of road deaths on the continent has been attributed to lax traffic rules enforcement by corruption traffic police, poor road conditions, lack of pedestrian infrastructure such as pavements and crossings and dismal emergency care or systems.
Most fatalities on the continent involve car owners, but a significant number of those killed in road accidents are pedestrians, Quartz Africa reported.
“The drivers… have no respect for the pedestrians or the pedestrians themselves have little respect or no respect for motorists,” Francis Meja, director general for Kenya’s road safety body NTSA, told Mail & Guardian Africa.
The other cause for the high number of causalities on African roads has to do with where and how the cars are acquired.
A majority of the vehicles driven on African roads are usually second-hand car imported mostly from Asian countries and very few of them meet the United Nation’s seven main safety standards.
Road related fatalities in Africa are so bad that a battlefield in Somalia is said to be safer than its roads. A continent that has only two percent of the world’s registered vehicles accounts for 16 percent of all its road-related deaths.