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June 26, 2017

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Official denies Taiwan's traffic fatality rate highest in the world

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Transportation and Communication (MOTC) denied Thursday reports in the local media that Taiwan's traffic accident fatality rate was the highest in the world.

The latest statistics from the International Road Federation (IRF) showed that the number of deaths per 10,000 vehicles in Taiwan was 1.56, compared to 7.92 in China, 3.77 in Canada, 2.65 in South Korea, 2.52 in France, 2.44 in Singapore, 2.38 in Hong Kong, and 1.71 in the United States, the MOTC said.

The rate was relatively lower in some European countries -- 1.57 in Italy, 1.0 in the U.K., and 0.97 in Germany, said Hsieh Shu-yi, executive secretary of the MOTC's Road Traffic Safety Commission (RTSC).

Local media reports on Thursday quoted a traffic official as saying at a seminar Wednesday that Taiwan's fatality rate from traffic accidents was higher than the U.S, Japan, South Korea, Germany and France's.

Hsieh said that the official had quoted the data incorrectly, explaining that the IRF only collects vehicle data.

He said it would be misleading to compare Taiwan's motorcycle accident rate with that of the U.S. or European countries, as there are far fewer motorcycles in those countries than in Asia.

The motorcycle fatality rates in Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam are definitely higher than in Taiwan, but those southeast Asian countries do not yet have a database of such statistics, he added.

Liu Yun-chu, an official at the Road Traffic Safety Commission was quoted in a local newspaper as saying that Taiwan has the world's highest traffic accident fatality rate -- 17.5 deaths per 100,000 people -- and 60 percent of the deaths were from motorcycle accidents.

Liu also said Taiwan's fatality rate from motorcycle accidents was the highest in the world, 1.6 times higher than in France, which is in second spot with 23 deaths per 100 cases, according to the newspaper.

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