Car Crashes Kill Many More People Than Terrorism

In the U.S. alone, the toll is 400 times higher, report says

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THURSDAY, Dec. 1, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- The number of deaths caused by traffic crashes in the United States and other developed countries is nearly 400 times greater than the toll taken by international terrorism, notes a study published in the latest issue of Injury Prevention.

In 2001, the number of people who died every 26 days on U.S. roads equaled the number of victims in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, approximately 3,000 individuals, the study said.

Researchers looked at data from 29 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) between 1994 and 2003. During the study period, there were 33 terrorism attacks accounting for 3,064 deaths. All these attacks occurred in 10 OECD countries. Turkey had the highest number of fatal terrorism attacks.

Overall, the annual death rate from traffic crashes in the 29 OECD countries was 390 times higher than the death toll from terrorism. Among the 10 countries where there were terrorist attacks, the ratio of road deaths to terrorism-related deaths ranged from 142 times greater in the United States to more than 55,000 times greater in Poland.

For all 29 OECD countries put together, the number of traffic deaths every nine days equaled the 9/11 death toll.

While terrorism has certain emotional, economic and political impacts, the study authors noted that there's a huge difference in the number of deaths caused by terrorism and traffic crashes. Traffic crashes also provide much greater evidence to inform policy decisions, the researchers added.

"Policy makers need to consider these issues when allocating resources towards preventable interventions that can save lives from these two avoidable causes of mortality," the study authors wrote.

More information

The National Safety Council has more about driver safety.

SOURCE: BMJ Specialist Journals news release, Dec. 1, 2005

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