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However, Malaysia’s road deaths still remain high in comparison to other countries.
Most of the 23 countries in the IRTAD have less than 10 road deaths per billion vehicle-kilometer in 2012.
Only three countries: South Korea (18.4), Czech Republic (15.7), and Malaysia (13.4) have more than 10 road deaths.
A more accurate measure of road safety is to express the number of road fatalities on per total distance traveled by all vehicles in the country per year.
Malaysia in particular was ranked third for having the safest roads among the ASEAN countries, but ranked far ahead of us at the first and second positions were Singapore and Brunei, respectively.
Al Haji also found that Singapore and Brunei also had similar road safety level with Sweden’s, a highly developed nation.
Consequently, the use of single indexes to compare the road safety between countries can be misleading.
Comparisons between countries is only valid if the countries being compared have similar levels of motorization (number of vehicles per population), transport system, population densities, and socio-economic factors.
Malaysia’s road safety levels have actually been improving over the years — but not quickly enough.
However, those that do include Malaysia and 22 other countries (such as US, UK, Denmark, Australia, and Germany), and their data are kept in the International Road Traffic and Accident Database (IRTAD) under the OECD Road Transport Research Programme.
Of the 23 member countries in the IRTAD, Malaysia’s road safety is the third from bottom, only higher than Korea’s and the Czech Republic’s.
This index is calculated by dividing the number of road deaths by the total distance traveled by all motor vehicles in the country in a year.
Unfortunately, many countries do not collect such data.