Traveling is an exciting part of life for many, with opportunities to explore new places, foods, and cultures. Every country offers its own unique experience, and the same can be said for road safety.

A recent report examined fatal car accident statistics from 30 developed countries. While all countries have seen a decline in fatal crashes since 1991, some are declining much faster than others. The data, which came from the International Transport Forum, shows that while the safety of roads in most countries is improving, the U.S. is lagging behind.

Keep reading to learn which five countries have had the smallest reduction in fatal crashes.

Countries with the Slowest Decline in Fatal Crashes

Over the last two decades, advancements in infrastructure, technology, and education have allowed us to make roads safer. From bicycle lanes to pedestrian crosswalks to enforcing traffic violations, transportation is finally causing fewer fatalities. Unfortunately, the following five countries are the slowest to improve. Let’s explore why that might be the case and what can be done.

1. The United States


One potential explanation for the slower decline in crashes in the U.S. compared to other developed nations lies in the country’s strong car culture. Unlike many European nations with stricter vehicle regulations and a focus on public transportation, pedestrian, and cyclist infrastructure, American cities often prioritize car travel. This car-centric approach, coupled with potentially lower public transit usage, may contribute to a higher number of accidents. Studies suggest a strong correlation: states with robust public transportation systems tend to have lower fatality rates, while those with limited options see higher crash numbers.

2. Israel


Compared to other developed countries, Israel has a higher number of road deaths per capita. In 2022, there were 3.6 deaths per 100,000 people. Pedestrians and motorcyclists are particularly at risk, accounting for a significant portion of fatalities. Aggressive driving, speeding, and distracted driving are all cited as contributing factors to accidents, according to the Israel National Road Safety Authority. The Israeli government is working on campaigns to improve safety.

3. Czech Republic


The Czech Republic has certainly seen a positive trend with a decrease in road fatalities over the past couple of decades. This is due to stricter regulations and safety campaigns. Compared to other countries, however, the Czech Republic’s road fatality rate remains higher than the European Union average. Rural roads and car occupant deaths are a particular concern for road safety efforts.

4. Netherlands


The number of road fatalities in the Netherlands has been steadily decreasing over the past few decades, making it rank well compared to other European countries. In fact, Dutch road infrastructure prioritizes the safety of cyclists and pedestrians alongside cars, with dedicated lanes and traffic calming measures. The Netherlands could rank number four due to missing data from 2018 onward.

5. Australia


The number of road deaths in Australia has been steadily declining over the past few decades, despite a growing population and more vehicles on the road. Like many countries, The Australian government has a long-term goal of achieving zero road deaths and serious injuries by 2050. Unfortunately, around 1,200 people are still killed on Australian roads each year, and many more are seriously injured. Speeding, drunk driving, fatigue, and distractions behind the wheel are key areas targeted by road safety campaigns according to the Australian Road Safety Foundation.

Stay Safe Out There

To understand how these countries stack up at the best, let’s take a look at Spain. Spain’s fatal traffic accidents decreased by 86% since 1991, making it the best of the 30 developed countries when it comes to traffic fatalities.

Serious car accidents are still one of the leading causes of death in most countries, so despite these declines, it remains an issue. Countries and their respective governments will need to continue improving their infrastructure and education campaigns in order to drastically reduce their fatal traffic accidents.