Sunday, August 26, 2012

China: Bus crash in Shaanxi province kills 36

At least 36 people died when a tanker carrying methanol collided with a passenger bus early Sunday morning in northwest China, state media reported. Those on board the bus were sleeping and burned to death according to local media reports. Three others were injured in the crash in Yan'an city in Shaanxi province. The bus is said to have rear-ended the tanker before both vehicles burst into flames. The crash occurred on the Baotou-Maoming expressway outside Yan'an city at around 02:00 local time [18:00 GMT Saturday] [CNN / BBCXinhua /  Sohu - Chinese / Nanyang - Chinese / Video report - Chinese].

Road deaths rising in China

The number of road deaths in China is very high compared to other countries. According to official studies there are about 450,000 car accidents on Chinese roads each year which cause about 470,000 injuries and 100,000 deaths. In 2011 around 62,000 died on China's roads according to official figures The total cost of these crashes is put at more than 2.4 billion US dollars. More than 90% of these accidents are considered to be caused by bad driving skills. 

Leading cause of death

Official figures are strongly disputed by the World Health Organization (WHO). A WHO study says the actual number of fatalities on China's roads is more than twice the official figure or about 250,000 killed each year. This study estimates that 45,000 are injured and 680 are killed on China's roads each day. It makes road crashes the leading cause of death for those aged between 15 and 45 in China. But there's also a financial cost. The direct and indirect costs of these accidents are estimated at between 12 to 21 billion US dollars, or about 1.5 % of China's GNP. This accident rate means that roughly 20 percent of the world's fatal car accidents take place in China.

While Latin America sees some of the highest numbers of road deaths when measured per capita, China still remains near the top of the list. According to a 2004 WHO report the death toll in China is around 19 per 100,000. In the Us the figure drops to 15 and in the European Union as a whole the number is a little over 11 per 100,000. The lowest recorded death rate is Britain which sees only 5.9 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants [see also tvnewswatch: Road deaths drop due to recession except in China].

tvnewswatch, London, UK

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