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      12-13-2008, 09:54 PM   #1
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Accident rates by country (US vs. Germany)

Continuing our discussion that was closed by moderators...

Are German drivers "better" than American drivers?

If you judge "better" by lower number of fatalities, I would contend the clear answer is yes. There are many causes but I believe regulatory and training issues are the most important. It would be good to include other accidents such as all traffic accidents, accidents with injuries and accidents with serious injuries, but I have no doubt that those would follow the clear trends seen below.

Quote:
The sizable traffic safety lead enjoyed by the USA since the 1960s had narrowed significantly by 2002, with the US improvement percentages lagging in 16th place behind those of Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland in terms of deaths per thousand vehicles, while in terms of deaths per 100 million vehicle miles travelled, the USA had dropped from first place to tenth place.
-source wikipedia

The table below summarizes fatal accident statistics in many different flavors since 1995. In all years and in all cases except for 2 German figures are lower than US figures. Those exceptions are also the oldest data in the range examined. Web sites and documents I used to generate the table are either attached or referenced below.

http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx
http://www.destatis.de/jetspeed/port...nderLarge.psml
http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dl...73292266364530

*Missing data was not available. Bold data used numbers read from graphs and thus are not official nor accurate and likely involve a few percent error from visual interpolation.
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      12-14-2008, 11:58 AM   #2
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Driving education in the U.S. is a joke. 15 minutes on a backyard with an automatic car..
No wonder the stats are what they are.

In many EU countries, there is at least 30 to 40 hours of mandatory training including skid-pad etc.
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      12-14-2008, 12:16 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by CES2009 View Post
Driving education in the U.S. is a joke. 15 minutes on a backyard with an automatic car..
No wonder the stats are what they are.

In many EU countries, there is at least 30 to 40 hours of mandatory training including skid-pad etc.
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      12-14-2008, 03:24 PM   #4
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I'd like to see how this data compares when you broken down by population density and age before i make a conclusion.
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      12-14-2008, 03:45 PM   #5
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it's nothing that isn't expected. 90% of all drivers in the USA are truly morons...which stems from poor driver's education and terrible traffic laws. not only that, but our style of traffic enforcement is so ass backwards that it doesn't punish or restrict the people that are actually out there causing the accidents or hazards. for example, most of the rest of the world has a no tolerance policy when it comes to drunk driving, whereas there are americans on the road still with multiple DUI convictions. i could go on for hours on how to fix the problems of american roads, including the roads themselves, but i'd rather save myself the anxiety.

oh and another thing, why isn't handheld cell phone usage illegal everywhere yet? that causes more accidents than anything.

and i hope everyone has full coverage insurance, without it you shouldn't be driving either...unless you are insanely rich.
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      12-14-2008, 04:39 PM   #6
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I hate it when people present stuff as statistic, if you're properly educated, you would know that statistic doesn't mean anything.

first of all, assuming that this statistic takes into account that the population of the United States is 300k vs Germany with only 80k, there is still the factor of legal driving age old-young, how many people in the country actually owns a car, average number of people riding in a car at one time, the weather, the time of year, are bird migrating, which way the wind is blowing, how much wood can a woodchuck chuck etc...

anyway, although I agree American is generally bad at driving, I still believe that statistic sucks.
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      12-14-2008, 05:45 PM   #7
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I grew up in Romania and driving school there is tough. I had to go to the driving school for like almost 2 months. And then IF you pass the written exam , you go to the driving exam with the police and they can mess with you big time. Meaning, they car trick you into making illegal maneuvers and if you do it they will fail you. When I took my driving exam they failed almost 50% of the people that day.
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      12-14-2008, 06:29 PM   #8
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I'd like to see the numbers once excluding DWI
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      12-15-2008, 12:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whyrms View Post
I hate it when people present stuff as statistic, if you're properly educated, you would know that statistic doesn't mean anything.

first of all, assuming that this statistic takes into account that the population of the United States is 300k vs Germany with only 80k, there is still the factor of legal driving age old-young, how many people in the country actually owns a car, average number of people riding in a car at one time, the weather, the time of year, are bird migrating, which way the wind is blowing, how much wood can a woodchuck chuck etc...

anyway, although I agree American is generally bad at driving, I still believe that statistic sucks.
Yeah, who needs statistics, the foundation of knowledge and decision making in complex situations with huge numbers of events involved....

Despite your level of education you can extract a great deal of conclusions from these statistics.

Don't you mean M instead of k? The population of the US is about 300M.

If you did not notice these statistics are all in terms of dividing by the population, the vehicle miles driven, etc. Such proper use of statistics cancels out the effect of the difference in population. Most of the other possible confounding effects you mention will almost assuredly get equalized across such long averaging (1 year at a time) and averaging across an entire country.

Perhaps you should read the statistics better and study the field a bit before being to quick to reply with unfounded criticisms?
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      12-15-2008, 01:12 AM   #10
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The US will give anyone a license. I was raised in Madrid and didnt learn to drive till I was 18 , which is what it should be here.
People In Florida can NOT drive at all, they think the slow lane is the left lane.
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      12-15-2008, 02:24 PM   #11
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no surprise, 15 year olds in the south drive with no experience, in most european countries you have to be 18 and go though a rigorous drivers education,

I wish i grew up in germany, drinking age 16, i could wait to drive until 18 because the payoff would be... Autobahn!
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      12-15-2008, 02:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whyrms View Post
I hate it when people present stuff as statistic, if you're properly educated, you would know that statistic doesn't mean anything.

first of all, assuming that this statistic takes into account that the population of the United States is 300k vs Germany with only 80k, there is still the factor of legal driving age old-young, how many people in the country actually owns a car, average number of people riding in a car at one time, the weather, the time of year, are bird migrating, which way the wind is blowing, how much wood can a woodchuck chuck etc...

anyway, although I agree American is generally bad at driving, I still believe that statistic sucks.
Wow, that is pretty ignorant. Didn't you even look at the numbers? These numbers are all divided into population, so its a ratio which makes total population irrelevant. And how does bird migration have anything to do with it?

Those stats are interesting swamp. As most have already said, drivers training in the states is an absolute joke. I'll go with Blake and save myself the anxiety as well, because after living in Germany for two years, when I actually think about it, the US system is just so pathetic it makes me mad. We could be so much better. There are no standards and no enforcement. I doubt that will ever change.
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      12-15-2008, 04:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Windy View Post
Wow, that is pretty ignorant. Didn't you even look at the numbers? These numbers are all divided into population, so its a ratio which makes total population irrelevant. And how does bird migration have anything to do with it?

Those stats are interesting swamp. As most have already said, drivers training in the states is an absolute joke. I'll go with Blake and save myself the anxiety as well, because after living in Germany for two years, when I actually think about it, the US system is just so pathetic it makes me mad. We could be so much better. There are no standards and no enforcement. I doubt that will ever change.
+1 all around.

It comes down to basically a freedom and responsibility thing. You could say we enjoy much more freedom with regards to driving (i.e. age, training, regulation, fees, etc.). With this freedom come the responsbility of accepting the consequences of our system, which very unfortunately is measured in the loss of lives.
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      12-15-2008, 04:49 PM   #14
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oops

wow, I guess people here are pretty serious, I guess my "bird migrating" joke wasn't really good cause no one seemed to be laughing.
I was thinking that this was another halfhearted discussion about stuff in general, but apparently I'm wrong.
Well, if this is going to be serious matter, then I would like to talk about this statistic seriously.

First thing first, I did notice that whoever made this "table" did divide the total population at the end, hence the part where I wrote "first of all, assuming that this statistic takes into account that the population of the United States is 300k vs Germany with only 80k" (pardon the K part, I meant M), this statement meant that I already assumed that this statistic was normalized according to population (I know, I know, my English is a bit confusing).

The second thing is that, I don't think that this statistic is a good indicator of US drivers, why? Well it's taking the number of accident and divide over the total population. What about people that doesn't drive? Which raise an interesting question, how many people in Germany has license and how many people in the US has license? This alone will have a great impact on the statistic. Not to mention a host of different things that I doubt the statistic took into account such as age distribution and road condition (yeah road condition is a factor because; bigger country, larger infrastructure, more road to maintain, the road miles vs population is a big factor in a country's ability to maintain the roads) etc...

Anyway, now that I know that this forum is serious business, I'll know not to bring my joking attitude here again, sorry for the trouble guys, hope my 2cents opens up more Productive discussion, and not personal bias.
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      12-15-2008, 05:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whyrms View Post
wow, I guess people here are pretty serious, I guess my "bird migrating" joke wasn't really good cause no one seemed to be laughing.
I was thinking that this was another halfhearted discussion about stuff in general, but apparently I'm wrong.
Well, if this is going to be serious matter, then I would like to talk about this statistic seriously.

First thing first, I did notice that whoever made this "table" did divide the total population at the end, hence the part where I wrote "first of all, assuming that this statistic takes into account that the population of the United States is 300k vs Germany with only 80k" (pardon the K part, I meant M), this statement meant that I already assumed that this statistic was normalized according to population (I know, I know, my English is a bit confusing).

The second thing is that, I don't think that this statistic is a good indicator of US drivers, why? Well it's taking the number of accident and divide over the total population. What about people that doesn't drive? Which raise an interesting question, how many people in Germany has license and how many people in the US has license? This alone will have a great impact on the statistic. Not to mention a host of different things that I doubt the statistic took into account such as age distribution and road condition (yeah road condition is a factor because; bigger country, larger infrastructure, more road to maintain, the road miles vs population is a big factor in a country's ability to maintain the roads) etc...

Anyway, now that I know that this forum is serious business, I'll know not to bring my joking attitude here again, sorry for the trouble guys, hope my 2cents opens up more Productive discussion, and not personal bias.
Thats exactly one of the problems: not every idiot in Germany or EU has a drivers license because their system is better and tougher. There is nothing wrong with the statistics. More people drive in this country and they shouldn't unless they change some laws.
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      12-16-2008, 04:59 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whyrms View Post
The second thing is that, I don't think that this statistic is a good indicator of US drivers, why? Well it's taking the number of accident and divide over the total population. What about people that doesn't drive? Which raise an interesting question, how many people in Germany has license and how many people in the US has license? This alone will have a great impact on the statistic.
Great. A totally valid point (finally ). My comments:

1. I tried to get the stats for the number of licensed drivers in each country. It is tough to get for Germany without understanding German. It is also very tough to get this year by year in any country. It would certainly be good to have this number and would provide another statistic. it certainly would not invalidate the other statistics though either.
2. A mitigating factor for the lack of the above information includes the observation that in most 1st world countries a very large percentage of those above the minimum age limit do actually have a drivers license.
3. I would be willing to bet that US rates would still not match German rates with the additional statistic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whyrms View Post
Not to mention a host of different things that I doubt the statistic took into account such as age distribution and road condition (yeah road condition is a factor because; bigger country, larger infrastructure, more road to maintain, the road miles vs population is a big factor in a country's ability to maintain the roads) etc...
Age distribution is taken into account in a rough fashion except for the small difference of minimum driving age. The reason is that all of those putting miles on an car are included. Sure, if one age distribution was drastically skewed toward the very young and very old drivers it would certainly make their figures worse. But it would still be the reality in that country and driving would be more dangerous there overall because of this. You might attribute some of the existing differences to allowing younger drivers here to obtain a license and allowing folks to driver older. Both of which would make a their stats worse. This again explains some of the existing stats, it does not invalidate them.

Road conditions are as well worth bringing up. But I would also argue that knowing your own road conditions is your responsibility in terms of safety. When the police report gets filed no one ever gets to blame the road, it is one drivers fault, the others or occasionally a mixture of % blame. Secondly, much more of Germany gets snow and ice compared to the US. This should in principal make their figures worse - yet they are still better.
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      12-16-2008, 05:23 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
Great. A totally valid point (finally ). My comments:

1. I tried to get the stats for the number of licensed drivers in each country. It is tough to get for Germany without understanding German. It is also very tough to get this year by year in any country. It would certainly be good to have this number and would provide another statistic. it certainly would not invalidate the other statistics though either.

There are 50 million people with a driver's license in Germany. Apparently 18.2 million of which have the new EU license. I am going to work to uncover more stats too.

http://www.eu-info.de/auto-fuehrersc...Fuehrerschein/
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      12-16-2008, 09:03 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
Continuing our discussion that was closed by moderators...

Are German drivers "better" than American drivers?

If you judge "better" by lower number of fatalities, I would contend the clear answer is yes. There are many causes but I believe regulatory and training issues are the most important. It would be good to include other accidents such as all traffic accidents, accidents with injuries and accidents with serious injuries, but I have no doubt that those would follow the clear trends seen below.



-source wikipedia

The table below summarizes fatal accident statistics in many different flavors since 1995. In all years and in all cases except for 2 German figures are lower than US figures. Those exceptions are also the oldest data in the range examined. Web sites and documents I used to generate the table are either attached or referenced below.

http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx
http://www.destatis.de/jetspeed/port...nderLarge.psml
http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dl...73292266364530

*Missing data was not available. Bold data used numbers read from graphs and thus are not official nor accurate and likely involve a few percent error from visual interpolation.
The real reason that I have noticed is all these immigrants coming over here and driving like the ass whipes they all are. I hate it when people judge "Americans" when it's really all the immigrants giving us a bad name
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      12-16-2008, 09:11 AM   #19
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The key reason German's have less deaths is they drive safer cars.

They are not driving Camry's or Impalas. They are driving cars that excel in accident avoidance and safety.

A good driver does not exist without a good car. Statistics can be presented in a way that really ignores the facts. For example, I could say Texas has the worse drivers simply by knowing they buy most pickup trucks and SUV's which have very poor handling and the winters have black ice on the roads.

TOP CARS SOLD in GERMANY
Manufacturer … Cars Sold in 2007 … Cars Sold in 2006 … % Change
  1. Volkswagen … 608,820 … 689,116 … -11.7
  2. Mercedes … 327,742 … 342,768 … -4.4
  3. Opel … 285,267 … 334,479 … -14.7
  4. BMW/Mini … 284,889 … 297,457 … -4.2
  5. Audi … 249,305 … 262,356 … -5.0
  6. Ford … 213,873 … 243,845 … -12.3
  7. Toyota/Lexus … 132,535 … 147,995 … -10.4
  8. Renault … 122,978 … 149,516 … -17.7
  9. Skoda … 118,682 … 118,523 … +0.1
  10. Peugeot … 93,394 … 111,151 … -16.0
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      12-16-2008, 09:24 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamp2 View Post
It comes down to basically a freedom and responsibility thing. You could say we enjoy much more freedom with regards to driving (i.e. age, training, regulation, fees, etc.). With this freedom come the responsbility of accepting the consequences of our system, which very unfortunately is measured in the loss of lives.
This is very true. America was built on freedom of travel. No having to show papers to go from state to state, along with a pioneering spirit to constantly be on the move. This is something that a lot of Europeans don't ever deal with. It's kind of sad that we've lost a lot of that pioneering spirit, and given away a lot of our individual freedoms in the name of a false sense of safety. Of course, a lot of citizens have also abdicated most of their responsibility, as well, and don't take responsibility for their own actions. I'd actually like to see less regulation and MORE freedom when it comes to driving, but also more consequences for failing to take responsibility and failing to be the best driver you can be.

And yeah, we still have half our fatalities due to alchohol.
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      12-16-2008, 09:31 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by chuck92103 View Post
The key reason German's have less deaths is they drive safer cars.

They are not driving Camry's or Impalas. They are driving cars that excel in accident avoidance and safety.

A good driver does not exist without a good car.
Horseshit. My 1962 Ford Falcon was over 40 years old and was never in an accident, so apparently it was more than "safe" enough to survive for decades on the roads (including modern highways around modern cars at modern speeds).



I've never crashed a car and I've had SUVS, pickups old "unsafe" cars and cars that were'n designed to handle, as well as cars that were. I've got quite a few SCCA trophies, and some came in cars that YOU would call crappy. A good driver exists SEPARATE from their car and doen't need a good car to BE good. In fact, I'd postulate that if a driver NEEDS a good car to be good, then they aren't all that good at all.

Add to that all the "good" cars that have crashed and had fatalities, and I'd say your theory is all wrong. otherwise there'd be no accidents/fatalities in sports cars and exotics.
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      12-16-2008, 09:41 AM   #22
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The real reason that I have noticed is all these immigrants coming over here and driving like the ass whipes they all are. I hate it when people judge "Americans" when it's really all the immigrants giving us a bad name
uh, how do you think america was founded? it was by a bunch of immigrants. so I don't think that's the appropriate term here. What I think you mean is that America has low driving standards, and foreigners (non-US citizens) are coming into the country and are given driver's licenses despite poor driving abilities/skills. The issue really isn't the "immigrants," it is the fact that the American driving system fails to actually teach drivers to drive; instead, it issues them a license if they can pay 70 dollars, pass a written test in the language of their choice, and manage to not crash during a 10 minute driving test.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck92103 View Post
The key reason German's have less deaths is they drive safer cars.

They are not driving Camry's or Impalas. They are driving cars that excel in accident avoidance and safety.

A good driver does not exist without a good car. Statistics can be presented in a way that really ignores the facts. For example, I could say Texas has the worse drivers simply by knowing they buy most pickup trucks and SUV's which have very poor handling and the winters have black ice on the roads.

TOP CARS SOLD in GERMANY
Manufacturer … Cars Sold in 2007 … Cars Sold in 2006 … % Change
  1. Volkswagen … 608,820 … 689,116 … -11.7
  2. Mercedes … 327,742 … 342,768 … -4.4
  3. Opel … 285,267 … 334,479 … -14.7
  4. BMW/Mini … 284,889 … 297,457 … -4.2
  5. Audi … 249,305 … 262,356 … -5.0
  6. Ford … 213,873 … 243,845 … -12.3
  7. Toyota/Lexus … 132,535 … 147,995 … -10.4
  8. Renault … 122,978 … 149,516 … -17.7
  9. Skoda … 118,682 … 118,523 … +0.1
  10. Peugeot … 93,394 … 111,151 … -16.0

I disagree. While many Germans drive safe cars, there are just as many that don't. First of all, it is difficult to judge what is "safe" and what is "not safe." To say that Trucks and SUVs are unsafe is a pretty sloppy generalization. Also, the same Merc (just for argument's sake) which might be considered "safe" @ 65 mph on a freeway in the states, is considered "unsafe"
in Germany when traveling 140 mph on the autobahn. The point is that "safe" and "unsafe" are relative terms.

I think that there is a much greater relation between low fatalities and driver competence than there is between low fatalities and "vehicle safety." Accident avoidance and safety are primarily driver skills, not vehicle skills. Also, knowing and understanding the laws of the road is very important. I think all of us that have ever lived in the States know how poor the average American driver is when put to test in some of these categories.
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