This study investigated the relationships between governance quality, cultural dimensions and road traffic fatality rates in a sample of 46 countries. Government quality was measured with six World Governance Indicators (WGI) published by World Bank, and the cultural factors included Hofstede's four cultural dimensions and seven Schwartz value dimensions. Both direct and moderator effects of the WGI on traffic fatality rates per million vehicles were found. Each of the six WGI scores correlated negatively with traffic fatalities indicating that the quality of governance and institutions contribute to traffic safety. Hofstede's "power distance" dimension and Schwartz value dimensions "embeddedness". "hierarchy" and "mastery" were positively and "intellectual autonomy" and "egalitarianism" negatively related to traffic fatalities. The WGI score moderated the effects of "hierarchy" and "mastery" on traffic fatalities so that in countries with low governance quality these cultural factors had stronger impact on traffic fatalities. It was concluded that improvement of the quality of governance and institutions would also result in improvement in traffic safety. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.