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Every year, 1.25 million people around the world die due to road crashes – a global problem that the World Health Organization (WHO) says is both predictable and preventable.
Most of the victims come from low and middle-income countries. Those in the prime of their lives are particularly vulnerable, with road injuries the leading cause of death among those 15-29 years old.
The Philippines is also seeing worrying figures, with data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showing that the number of deaths due to road crashes has been increasing since 2006.
According to the latest available data, 10,012 people died due to road crashes in 2015 – a 45.76% increase from 6,869 deaths recorded in 2006.
Research we conducted based on data from the PSA and other sources on road crash information yielded the following:
1. The total number of deaths due to road crashes nationwide has been increasing since 2006.
In 2006, the PSA recorded 6,869 deaths due to road crashes. Nine years later, in 2015, that number jumped to 10,012.
Since 2010, the number of road crash deaths never dipped below 8,000. The year with the most number of road crash-related deaths is 2015, with 10,012 people killed. This is 1.79% of the 560,605 total deaths (including non-road crash ones) recorded by the PSA that year.
2. The working age group is most vulnerable to road crashes nationwide.
The working age group consists of people 15-64 years old. In 2015, 82.17% or 8,227 of the total road crash casualties nationwide came from this sector.
Within the group, those 20-24 years old are the most frequent victims of road crashes between 2006 and 2015, followed by those in the 25-29 age group.
The table below shows the breakdown of the victims' ages from 2006 to 2015.
3. More than 500 children die every year due to road crashes.
An average of 667 children – those 14 years old and below – died every year from 2006 to 2015. Among the children, the most vulnerable are those 5-9 years old, and those 10-14.
In 2015, for instance, 261 children aged 5-9 and 230 children aged 10-14 died.
4. Road traffic injuries are among the top causes of death among 5- to 24-year-olds.
A 2002 report by the WHO listed the top causes of death among different age groups. Road traffic injuries are among the top 3 causes of death for those 5-24 years old.
It is the top cause of death among those 15-19 years old, followed by self-inflicted injuries and maternal conditions.
For those aged 20-24, it is the second leading cause of death, with HIV/AIDS as the top cause and self-inflicted injuries as the third leading cause.
5. Motorcycle injuries are one of the top causes of road crash deaths.
Based on data from the PSA, motorcycle-related injuries comprise 69% of the total identified transport incidents nationwide.
This is no surprise considering the total number of vehicles in the Philippines. According to statistics from the Land Transportation Office (LTO), more than half of the vehicles nationwide are motorcycles. Of the total 8.7 million vehicles registered with the LTO for 2015, 4.8 million are motorcycles.
Motorcycle riders have also been the top victims of road crashes in Metro Manila since 2010. (READ: Road deaths in PH: Most are motorcycle riders, pedestrians)
The table below shows the breakdown of the type and number of vehicles in 2015:
The chart below from PSA shows the number of vehicles and pedestrians involved in a crash:
6. Males make up the majority of road crash victims nationwide.
Since 2006, the number of male victims of road crashes has been steadily increasing. Male victims comprised 78.4% of road crash victims in 2006, and 81.04% in 2015.
In comparison, the percentage of female victims has been dropping slightly – from 21.6% in 2006 to 18.95% in 2015. However, it should be noted that despite this decrease in percentage, the number of female victims is still up, due to the higher total number of road crash-related deaths in 2015 compared to 2006.
7. The majority of road crash casualties nationwide are in Luzon, followed by Mindanao and the Visayas.
From 2006 to 2015, Luzon (excluding the National Capital Region) listed the highest number of casualties among the 3 major island groups, with nearly 50% of road crash deaths occurring here. In 2015, 51.6% of road crash deaths nationwide – or 5,167 people killed – were recorded in Luzon.
Meanwhile, the percentage of casualties in the National Capital Region (NCR) has been constantly decreasing since 2011. Road crash deaths in NCR comprised 7.2% of the total deaths nationwide in 2011, but this dropped to 4.06% in 2015.
A possible reason for why Luzon has the highest number of victims can be attributed to the population differences among the 3 island groups. More than half – 56.9% – of the Philippine population is in Luzon, while 19.2% and 23.9% are in the Visayas and Mindanao, respectively.