Thursday, October 29, 2009

Will Taiwan's traffic get you before the pollution does?

Despite Taiwan government advertising where statistics are bent to show the deaths per thousand on certain roadways (only) have been reduced there are startling statistics out there showing over 50% of accidental deaths occur on roadways in Taiwan and a disproportionately high amount of Taiwanese die in traffic fatalities.

I think I once worked it out to an hourly rate where a Taiwanese is killed every 1-2 hours in a traffic fatality. Anyhow, the statistic was high enough that recently the American Trade Office (AIT) Director was able to rationalize hawking BSE-threatened beef by comparing it to the possibility of dying in a traffic accident. Can't beat them odds.

Then there is the recent article from the China Post stating that Taiwan's traffic fatalities are the highest in the world. Now most of us know that the reporting in the China Post is so skewed that they will even claim that the color of the sun is really white because that's the color of it on the Taiwanese (KMT) flag. But even the China Post makes it obvious that the government does not consider scooters to be vehicles, and therefore the amazingly high death rate of 17.5 deaths per 10,000 people is made to sound like 10% of its real total, 1.75; i.e. manipulating it from TWICE China's death rate to around that of the death rate in the United States.

See? There's nothing wrong here people! Scooters aren't vehicles, so there is no one is dying! Traffic is fine. Crisis averted. You can all go home now, but if you don't mind, I think I'll take the MRT.


  1. Taiwan sucks. I lived there for four years and even married a local. Now we live in Austin, but my wife keeps wanting to go back. Personally, I have no desire to fly for 16 hours to what I call "Garbageland."

    Feel free to check out the blog I wrote about Taiwan while I was living there. I was much more brutal on Taiwan than you.

  2. Hi Ken, thanks for the comment.

    Like every place, Taiwan has some good and some bad. While I have nothing against Taiwan personally, I think the insanity of the work environment and visa situation for foreigners is definitely something most people don't hear about and something that can tend to amplify other negative things.

    That being said, from what I've read of your blog so far, I think you give a good personal account of life as a foreigner there, especially teaching at a bushiban. I can laugh about things now, but at the time I thought I was going to run out of teeth to grind!