On this day in auto history – June 4th

Fri 4th Jun 2021

It was on this day in 2005 that the World Health Organisation unveiled shocking figures revealing that an average of 680 motorists were dying on China’s roads every day, whilst a staggering 45,000 were getting injured.

The figures were so shocking because, at that time, car ownership in China was still minuscule compared to the USA which averaged just 115 motoring deaths per day.

The combination of soaring car ownership and chaotic motorway construction contributed to China's figures but questions were also raised about its lax driving test system amid stories of readily bribable examiners.

In the intervening years, China has cleaned up its act massively. Legislation covering drink-driving, speeding and seat-belts has helped foster a much better culture of safety, so much so that the daily death toll has remained fairly constant despite staggering further rises in car ownership.

Last year, the number of vehicles registered in China passed the 300 million barrier, with cars accounting for over two thirds of that number