We have some good news and bad news. First, the bad: from September 30 to October 7, called “Golden Week” because everyone is on national holiday, accidents on the road in China “killed altogether 794 people and led to direct economic losses worth 13.25 million yuan (2.1 million U.S. dollars),” according to Xinhua.
The good news? Those figures mark a 46.2 percent and 37 percent drop, respectively, from the previous year.
Do keep that in mind as you watch the above video (on Youku for those in China after the jump), a compilation of scenes from China’s roads last week. As bad as it all looks, not only could it have been worse, but it actually got better from previous years. Progress, right?
Here are some more advanced statistics for you to ponder, too:
During the 8-day-long holidays, China reported 68,422 cases of road accidents, a year-on-year decrease of 24.1 percent, according to the traffic bureau under the Ministry of Public Security.
Among those accidents, 2,164 involved casualties, a 46.2% decrease from the same period last year. These accidents killed altogether 794 people, injured 2,473, and led to direct economic losses worth 13.25 million yuan (2.1 million U.S. dollars), which dropped by 46.4 percent, 47.9 percent and 37 percent, respectively, year-on-year.
Remember this always and you’ll be okay: China has a lot of people. When they all hit the roads for vacation at the same time, of course there will be accidents. And, sad as it is, of course there will be fatalities. Simply count your blessings if you weren’t a victim and don’t know any, and stay safe out there.
Is this figure accurate? i know 794 deaths sounds a lot and it is of course a tragedy but it seems like a very low number. in 2009 the last reported figures for road fatalities countrywide were 68000. Many experts voiced concerns this was way under-reported. And this averaged to 1307 deaths a week. now given golden week’s chaos, we would expect it to be an above average week. more than that i have driven for a few years in china and last year and this driven shanghai to rizhao and back, and i can tell you i have never seen more road accidents than this holiday. definitely more than last year.
The governments’ reported figures are almost definitely false, as snoopfrog astutely points out.
If there was in fact a reduction in traffic deaths over last year (which is unlikely) the reason could only be that you are much less likely to die in a traffic accident when travelling at 10 km/h due to the insane volume of traffic.
Of course these stats are fake. China once reported a 5000 lb hog back in the 1950′s and wheat so thick and hardy that it could support children walking on it. Give me a break! This country never changes.
The ONLY way they will become better drivers is if the police enforce the laws. ha ha! Until then it every man from himself.
the greatest cause of the crashes that i saw on my shangha-rizhao-shanghai drive cum video game adventure was actually the traffic jams (mostly caused by the fact that the elimination of toll fees for that week combined with the fact they still allowed trucks during the day). As soon as people saw 50 m in front of them, speeds were up to 80-100 km / h with 2-3 meters in between cars. on sep 30 when i finally got over the sutong bridge after a 9 hour epic drive (if you can call 9 km/h driving), the most dangerous thing was not crashing when traffic slowed again whilst being extremely tired.
also, another interesting fact is that the average direct economic loss per each accident that had casualties was USD970…. makes little sense (even a QQ costs more than that). i would expect a much higher cost of damage per fatal accident (also this conveniently obscures the direct cost of a fatality to the surviving family)
in any case we will just assume that this is either a mistake by the journalist or that we live in one of the world’s safest places (which is it is for crime) for road transport….
As other people have said, these figures cannot be true. I have seen two accidents in one day, a normal day, in Shanghai so there must be much more than 794 fatalities for National Day last week.
It never ceases to amaze me how selfishly people drive here. They drive the way they move around on the subway.