ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on September 18th, 2009 at 4:33 am

South Korea Continues to Lead OECD In Pedestrian Deaths

Via Brian in Jeollanam-do comes news that South Korea continues to lead the OECD in pedestrian traffic accident death rates:

Korea has the highest pedestrian death rate among OECD states and the Korean police are partly responsible for that number.

The number of pedestrians who died from traffic accidents reached 4.61 in every 100,000 people in 2007, according to the 2007 OECD statistics quoted by the Korea Transport Institute yesterday.

With the record, Korea far exceeded Hungary, which was ranked second in the list with 2.86. Greece and Portugal followed with 2.11 and 2.02 respectively. Japan turned out to be relatively safe with 1.9 in every 100,000.

Korea also other states in the number of pedestrian deaths per every 10,000 cars, with 1.36 – almost five times higher than Japan’s record of 0.2.  [Korea Herald]

As people who have lived in Korea for while know all to well being a pedestrian in Korea is dangerous due to the lack of drivers following traffic laws.  Even when crosswalk lights are green for me to walk across I still take extra precautions to look both ways and make sure the cars stop because I can’t recall how many times I have seen cars blow through red stoplights.  I bring this all up simply to reinforce my point about how the 2002 Armored Vehicle Accident was a missed opportunity to address traffic safety in Korea.

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  • kwandongbrian
    9:47 am on September 18th, 2009 1

    Because traffic deaths are so well-known, I first read your title "Korea continues to lead OECD in pedestrian deaths" with 'pedestrian' meaning common, or boring. I thought that was a bit harsh.

  • ChickenHead
    1:36 pm on September 18th, 2009 2

    "As people who have lived in Korea for while know all to well being a pedestrian in Korea is dangerous due to the lack of drivers following traffic laws. "

    Maybe… but it is MORE dangerous due to pedestrians who show absolutely no respect for the couple tons of sharpened metal moving toward them at high speed.

    They are so busy yapping on their cellphones, thumbing away on a text message or lost in the MP3 player that they have no idea what is going on around them.

    Further, there is no basic caution on the part of most pedestrians… such as lurching into the street as soon as the crosswalk turns green… even if there is still movement in the intersection… such as the poor guy who entered when it was a very soft yellow (so as not to get rear-ended) yet had it turn red before he got out.

    Korean yellow lights are WAY too short in some big intersections.

    I despise people who listen to music players in public. Their inability to mesh with society is irritating… such as having absolutely NO situational awareness… both audio and, strangely, visually.

    The manifests itself in many annoying and dangerous ways… but a big one is not hearing cars coming and concentrating more on the music than how they are interacting with others in a public space.

    I have texters and iPodders step out in front of me on a weekly basis.

    It's a good thing I drive with great caution.

    2:11 pm on September 18th, 2009 3

    Don't forget about bicyclists. People on a bike never follow the rules of the road. They never stop for lights. Weave in and out of traffic. They think they are special, like hippies and democrats.

  • lucky
    1:03 am on November 28th, 2010 4

    Are you kidding me? I'm not sure I agree with your analysis that it is due to drivers not following traffic laws. I live in Seoul, and I can tell you right now pedestrians don't even look when they cross. They will walk right out in front of you and even at intersections when they don't have the light. They are crazy! It's a combination of drivers and crazy Korean pedestrians.


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