Seoul traffic accidents hit all-time low in 2018

Posted on : 2019-01-14 17:27 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Number of traffic-related deaths falling steadily over past 5 years
Key statistics for traffic-related deaths in Seoul
Key statistics for traffic-related deaths in Seoul

An average of 0.82 people per day died in traffic accidents in Seoul last year – the lowest number since related statistics were first compiled in 1970.

The city of Seoul and the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency (SMPA) announced on Jan. 13 that total deaths from traffic accidents within the city last year had been tentatively estimated at 299, or an average of 0.82 per day. The number was down by 44 deaths from 2017.

The number of traffic accidents deaths rose from 534 in 1970, when statistics were first gathered, all the way to 1,371 in 1989 amid a sharp increase in vehicle ownership. Since the adoption of comprehensive measures in 2013 to reduce the death toll, the number of related deaths has fallen steadily over the past five years; the 2018 total was down 25% from its 2014 level and 13% from its 2017 level.

The number of traffic accident deaths per 10,000 vehicles also fell below one for the first time ever. The number of deaths per 10,000 vehicles in the city of Seoul was estimated at 0.96 for last year, compared to figures in the 1.1–1.5 range over the preceding five years.

There were 3.0 traffic fatalities per 10,000 members of the population, which puts Korea on a similar level to Switzerland (2.6), Norway (2.6), Sweden (2.7), and the UK (2.8) and lower than Japan (3.7), Canada (5.2), France (5.4) and the US (11.6).

After analyzing data collected about deaths in traffic last year, the city of Seoul will be implementing a policy aimed at reducing traffic fatalities. In order to reduce the number of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents, the speed limit will be lowered to 50kph on main roads and 30kph on side roads. Pedestrians’ share of total traffic fatalities in downtown Seoul increased from 55% in 2017 to 62% last year, accounting for 184 out of 299 total fatalities. In order to prevent jaywalking, which was implicated in half (96) of pedestrian traffic fatalities last year, the city is planning to install 20 crosswalks and set up barriers in areas where crosswalks are not feasible.

“We intend to keep working with the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency and other relevant agencies to upgrade our traffic safety policies. After analyzing traffic safety statistics, we will focus our policies on improving traffic safety for the elderly and pedestrians, who are vulnerable to traffic accidents,” said Koh Hong-seok, chief of urban transportation for Seoul. People aged 65 and above accounted for 40% (119) of traffic fatalities.

By Chai Yoon-tae, staff reporter

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