FIGURE 1-4 Motor vehicle fatalities in the United States and 15 other high-income countries, 1975-2008.
NOTE: The comparison set of countries in this analysis are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, and Switzerland.
SOURCE: Transportation Research Board (2011, Figure 2-2c).
has lost the advantage it once held over other countries. Figure 1-4 shows the trend over three decades. As the Transportation Research Board (2011, p. 40) explains:
Fatality rates per vehicle kilometer have declined greatly in every high-income country in the past several decades, and the absolute disparity of rates among countries has lessened. A comparison of the U.S. experience with that of 15 other high-income countries for which 1975–2008 data are available shows that the U.S. fatality rate was less than half the aggregate rate in the other countries in 1975 but has been higher since 2005. Consequently, total annual traffic deaths in the 15 countries fell by 66 percent in the period, while U.S. deaths fell by only 16 percent. The U.S. fatality rate was among the best before 1990 but has been below the median rate of the group every year since 2001.
The United States also has dramatically higher rates of death from violent injuries, especially from firearms. In a study that compared 23 OECD