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Seoul sees lowest traffic fatalities in 2020

The number of fatalities from traffic accidents in Seoul fell to its lowest recorded level last year, police said Sunday.

According to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, the number of people who died from traffic accidents reached 218 throughout 2020, down from 247 people from a year earlier. The number of traffic accident fatalities has been steadily falling from 399 deaths recorded in 2014.

Pedestrians accounted for more than half, or 115, of all traffic accident deaths in Seoul recorded last year, and within that figure, 38 people died from jaywalking. Sixty of the deaths were people over the age of 65. Two children died as pedestrians on regular motor roads.

Close to 60 people died while using two-wheeled vehicles like motorcycles. Police said although the number of those using motorcycles skyrocketed last year from a surge in demand for delivery services, the number of related deaths inversely fell.

As the decrease trend continues, the capital police agency said it will target to reduce this year’s traffic fatalities to below 200. It believes the number can fall below 192 considering the continued downward curve.

Reaching that milestone will allow Seoul to bring its number of traffic accident deaths per 100,000 people to 1.92, which will qualify Seoul as a safe urban area on a global scale, police said. The same figure marked 2.6 for New York City, 1.9 for Sydney, 1.6 for Paris and 1.4 for London in 2019.

The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said it will collaborate with district governments to install more central reservations for motor roads and light emitters near crossroads. Police will also continue to have patrol vehicles travel below 40 kilometers per hour, barring an emergency.

By Ko Jun-tae (