600 die on China's roads each day: WHO

Last Updated: Friday, October 8, 2004 | 1:00 PM ET

CBC News
More than 600 people die every day on the roads in China, the World Health Organization says about twice as many as the government claims.

The WHO report also says more than 45,000 people are injured in road accidents every day in China, and warns that without urgent intervention the daily death toll could reach 1,300 by 2020.

China's road toll is just a part of a global epidemic of road traffic accidents that accounts for the deaths of about 1.2 million people each year, says a WHO report.

The report says low- and middle-income countries have about 90 per cent of all road traffic deaths and disabilities.

In Canada, a report by Transport Canada said that 2,778 people were killed on the roads in 2001 an average of 7.6 a day.

The WHO report suggests that in China, vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 45.

In April, the official Chinese newspaper said about 300 people were killed each day in vehicle crashes as a result of booming car consumption, poor infrastructure and bad driving.

China introduced its first road traffic safety act just this past May.

The road deaths place a heavy burden on the economy, as well, costing approximately 1.5 per cent of China's gross national product as much as $21 billion US.

(with files from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation)