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Bad Logic: Russian Ban On Transsexual Drivers Defies Road-Safety Stats

In the wake of Russia's decision to disqualify transsexual and transgender people from holding driving licenses, activists have gone out of their way to explain that sexual orientation has no bearing on one's driving ability.

They have called on Moscow to cancel the ban, which also targets anyone deemed to suffer from sexual "disorders" -- including fetishism, voyeurism, and "wearing clothes of the opposite sex in order to experience temporarily membership of the opposite sex."

Such pleas are likely to fall on deaf ears in the Kremlin, which has overseen a tough crackdown on sexual minorities.

There is, needless to say, no evidence linking transgender people, crossdressers, or homosexuals with reckless driving.

Quite on the contrary, road-safety statistics show that the countries most tolerant of sexual minorities also have some of the world's safest roads.

INFOGRAPHIC: European traffic deaths (click for interactive map)

The opposite is also true: Russia, with its stringent laws against "nontraditional sexual relations," and other gay-unfriendly countries in the post-Soviet space have the highest traffic-related death rates in Europe.

About 19 per 100,000 people die on Russian roads each year. In Sweden, a country that allows same-sex marriage in church, this figure drops to three -- a shocking disparity, especially considering that Swedes own twice as many cars per capita as Russians.

A myriad different factors naturally come into play here, and the correlation between sexual tolerance and road safety is a flawed one. Just as flawed as the notion that sexual minorities should be banned from the roads.

-- Claire Bigg

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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