Comparisons of Scottish figures against those of other countries

Comparisons of Scottish figures against those of other countries

Casualty rates: against England & Wales

Tables C to F refer.

Historically, killed casualty rates per head of population in Scotland have been above those for England & Wales, whereas the serious and total casualty rate is usually lower in Scotland than in England & Wales. In 2022, Scotland's casualty rates were 22% higher (killed), 26% lower (serious) and 53% lower (all severities).

Child rates

In 2022, the Scottish rates were 7% higher (serious) than those in England and Wales and 29% lower (all severities). In the case of serious and all severities this represented an improvement in Scotland's figures relative to England & Wales (compared with the 2014-18 average).

Due to the relatively small number of fatalities a 5 year average is used for comparison here. In the period 2018-2022, child fatality rates in Scotland were on average 23% higher than England and Wales, however, in three of the five years the rates were lower.

It should be noted that the ratio of the fatality rates for Scotland and for England and Wales can fluctuate markedly from year to year, particularly for the child fatality rates due to the relatively small numbers in Scotland (which may be subject to year-to-year changes which are large in percentage terms). Therefore, subsequent paragraphs do not refer to the fatality rates for children using different modes of transport. In addition, it should be remembered the rates for some other sub-groups may be affected by year-to-year fluctuations: for example, the numbers are relatively small for most categories of child killed and seriously injured casualties in Scotland.

Mode of transport

The casualty rates of car users in Scotland have typically been substantially higher than those of England & Wales for killed and seriously injured casualties, while for all severities the rate has been much lower. In 2022, Scotland's car user fatality rate was 60% higher than that of England & Wales, the seriously injured rate was 10% lower and the all severity car user rate was 51% lower. For child car users, the seriously injured rate was 14% lower in Scotland and the all severities rate was 40% less than that of England and Wales.

In 2022, the pedestrian killed rate per thousand was 2% higher in Scotland than England & Wales, and the serious and all severities rates were 28% and 46% lower respectively. The child pedestrian casualty rates in Scotland were lower for killed (16%) and all severities (14%) but higher for seriously injured (21%) compared to those for England & Wales.

Pedal cyclists casualty rates (all ages) in Scotland were substantially lower than in England & Wales in 2022 for seriously injured (49% lower) and for all severities (66% lower). The child pedal cycle casualty serious rate was 48% lower and the all severities rate 60% lower in Scotland than in England & Wales.

Further information about the numbers of casualties in England and Wales, and for Great Britain as a whole, can be found in Reported road casualties Great Britain 2022 which is published by the Department for Transport.

Road deaths: International comparison 2021 & 2022 (provisional)

Tables G and H refer.


This section compares Scotland's road death rates in 2021 and 2022 (provisional) with the fatality rates of some countries in Western Europe and some developed countries world-wide. The comparisons involve a total of up to 42 countries (including Scotland, and count each of the UK, Great Britain, England, Wales and Northern Ireland as individual countries). The fatality rates were calculated on a per capita basis (the statistics given are rates per million population), and the countries were then listed in order of their fatality rates in Table G sections (a), (b), (c) and (d). In cases where two countries appear to have the same rate, the order takes account of decimal places which are not shown in the tables. A table of car user fatality rates which were calculated on a per motor vehicle basis is no longer shown due to a lack of consistent data.

Tables G and H were provided by the Department for Transport, which obtained the figures for foreign countries from the International Road Traffic and Accident Database (IRTAD).

In accordance with the commonly agreed international definition, most countries define a fatality as being due to a road collision if death occurs within 30 days of the collision. However, the official road collision statistics of some countries limit the fatalities to those occurring within shorter periods after the collision. The numbers of deaths, and the death rates, which appear in the IRTAD tables take account of the adjustment factors used by the Economic Commission for Europe and the European Conference of Ministers of Transport to represent standardised 30-day numbers of deaths.

Latest Results

In 2022, Scotland's provisional overall road death rate of 32 per million population was the eleventh lowest of the 40 countries surveyed (counting each of Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland as separate countries, but not counting the overall GB and UK figures).


In 2021, Scotland's pedestrian fatality rate was 7 per million population. Scotland ranked 20 of the 33 countries for which figures are available (again counting Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland separately, and again not counting the GB and UK figures).

Car Users

When the car user fatality rate is calculated on a per capita basis, Scotland has a car user fatality rate of 7 per million population: the twentieth lowest of 33 countries, again not counting the GB and UK figures.


The fatality rates per head of population for up to 35 countries (including Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland as separate countries, but not counting the overall GB and UK figures) are shown, for each of four broad age-groups, in Table H. Again, the ordering takes account of decimal places not shown in the table. The Scottish rate is the tenth lowest for casualties aged 0-14. It was the fourteenth lowest for those aged 15-24, tenth lowest for those aged 25-64 and twelfth lowest for 65+ (in each case, not counting the overall GB and UK figures).

International comparisons of road safety are based on road death rates, as this is the only basis for which there is an international standard definition. As indicated above, the OECD IRTAD tables provide comparable figures for each country, after making adjustments to the data for countries which do not collect their figures on the standard basis. One should not try to compare different countries' overall road collision casualty rates (i.e. the total numbers killed or injured, relative to the population of each country) because there is no internationally-adopted standard definition of an injury road collision. There are considerable differences between countries in the coverage of their injury road collision statistics. For example, many countries count only collisions which result in someone being admitted to hospital – so their figures would not include the kinds of collision which, in Britain, are classified as causing only slight injuries or certain types of serious injury. Because many countries' definitions of injury road collisions are much narrower than the definition used in the UK, their reported numbers of injury road collisions will appear low relative to ours – so comparing the reported numbers of people injured in road collisions may provide a misleading impression of different countries' road safety records.

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