Road traffic accidents and mortality in Russia: 1956-2014
This article presents for the first time an analysis of the continuous statistical data series on deaths from road accidents in Russia since 1956. The total number of deaths for 1956-2012 exceeded 1.4 million. The increase in mortality from traffic accidents started in the 1970s; since the beginning of the 1990s, the lag behind most developed countries has been growing. At 2012 mortality levels, about 85-95% of Russia’s deaths from road accidents were excessive compared with the number of deaths that would have occurred at age-specific mortality rates from this cause in selected European countries. Both the current characteristics of the general level of motorisation and the main indicators of traffic injuries, such as the number of deaths per 100 thousand persons, per 10 thousand vehicles or per number of kilometres traveled, show that in terms of transport development Russia lags 40-50 years behind Western countries.
The article also examines the history of the inclusion of mortality from road accidents in the International Classification of Causes of Death (ICD) and the problems of reflecting this mortality in Russian mortality statistics.
Age and sex-specific patterns and trends in Russian mortality from traffic accidents are analysed, as well as the differences in mortality for different categories of road users (e.g. drivers, passengers and pedestrians) for the longest period possible. International comparisons that allow for understanding the extent of Russian backwardness and seeing the long-term unsustainable trends in mortality from road accidents are presented.
The author points out the necessity of further scientific research into road and transport safety problems and the development of effective safety improvement programmes in Russia aimed to overcome the lag.