In addition to the historic fall in crime rates in the U.S., the number of overall traffic fatalities has also decreased. But given the increased presence of news and social media in our daily lives it may not always seem like things are getting safer on our highways. To help illustrate the changes in the U.S. and around the world, the Pulitzer Center has produced an amazingly detailed interactive map of the planet's traffic fatalities.
The Road Kill Map has two modes, one is essentially an animated presentation that takes the viewer on a tour of various countries, revealing interesting facts and figures that offer perspective on a particular nation's safety record compared to other countries. The other mode allows the viewer to explore the entire planet's countries in the same way one might peruse Google Maps, offering infographic rollovers and interactive graphics that update to reflect changes in the viewer's cursor/global position.
And while the U.S. traffic fatality rate has fallen, globally the rate appears to be on the upswing. According to the report, road accidents in developing countries will soon become the fifth leading cause of death, rivaling maladies such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis. Some key facts revealed in the report include: the global road death toll is expected to reach 3.6 million by 2030, Sweden has the lowest road fatality rate among among industrialized nations, Russia's road fatality rate is about double the number for the U.S., and the risk of dying as a result of a road traffic injury is greatest in Africa.
You can begin exploring the interactive map here.