Russian roads are notoriously dangerous and very, very deadly. But today, the State Agency of Road Safety (the dreaded, bribe-taking traffic police) just released its statistics for the first three quarters of the year and good news abounds. Traffic accidents? Down! Drunk drivers? Down! Accident fatalities? Way down!
Ah, but then the Russian press starts doing the thing that Russians love to do: comparing themselves to the West. And, well, the results don’t look so good when you look at them like that. Despite the progress, Russians still suffer from huge numbers of accidents relative to population, every tenth victim is a child, blah, blah, blah. Most, erm, striking, half of all road fatalities in Russia are pedestrians and, in Russia, they are three times less likely to survive than in Western Europe. Nearly half — or 45% — of hit Russian pedestrians will die. In Germany and Britain, Gazeta.ru points out, that proportion never tops 14%.