This interested me when I recently read an article in 'news.com' that revealed 25,000 people die each year when on vocation, mostly through car accidents.
Paul Glover in the Sun Herald wrote that driving is the No.1 risk on any major trip, citing the FIA Foundation in Europe, which trumps terrorism, plane crashes and infectious disease, for which we hear much more and given more official cautions over.
According to the research, it will get worse, almost doubling to 45,000 by 2020 and tripling to 75,000 by 2030 in line with the overall increase in road fatalities. Tourists account for 5-10 per cent of road fatalities in some European countries.
The FIA, a federation of motoring organisations and the governing body of world motor sport, warns against a lethal cocktail of killer roads, unsafe vehicles, dangerous driving and disoriented travellers in a new report published on World Tourism Day.
The report says tourists expect the highest standards of safety when they step on a plane to travel on holiday but are then placed in lethal situations when driving as this is an area for which most people feel a level of comfort and over assurance.
The rental car market is huge across the world and the number of rental car vehicles on Australian roads with drivers both from interstate and overseas, likewise makes Australians an equally lethal mix.
It has been difficult to get exact figures on Australian rental car statistical accidents other than news reports of overseas travellers killed in road accidents.
World wide statistical data available on tourist visitors are most revealing as France has double of its nearest rival, with 76.5 million visitors each year with Spain next at 49.5 million and then comes the USA, at 45.5 million visitors. The cheap rental car market in Europe in particular has added to these alarming FIA concerns.
Now we read an article on the number of young Australiana who unfortunately travel, in effect, on a one way ticket. For example, 147 have died in Thailand between 2005 and 2010, in Vietnam it is 123 and in the Philippines it is 109. The article quotes Graham Kingaby, of Travel Insurance Direct, said people tended to get into trouble abroad because they relaxed their usual standards of safety when travelling.
It illustrates than when we travel overseas, the most likely place you'll get injured or worst case scenario, killed, is on the road.
In my Mission activities in this past twelve months, I've travelled from Tweed Heads to Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Victoria, Tasmania, Sydney, Canberra and to Hawaii for the Baptist World Congress. In most situations I've had a rental vehicle.
All this causes me to ponder, so as to how fortunate many Mission people have been not to be included in such statistics. Rental vehicles are available at very reasonable costs,and how constantly vigilant we need to be on the road.
In own own situation, each time I drive, my prayer is that I will drive carefully and those drivers near us are likewise as vigilant.