Soviet drivers are so reckless and roads so bad that the Soviet traffic death toll is almost as high as in the United States, which has 10 times as many cars, the Communist Party daily said.

About 40,000 people are killed in traffic accidents each year in the Soviet Union, Pravda said Wednesday."There is a lack of elementary ethics on the road, with drivers behaving rudely and without any respect towards each other," the paper. "The Soviet road and high speed are not compatible."

The 1986 traffic death toll in the United States was 47,900, according to the 1988 World Almanac.

Pravda said in an article Oct. 30 that the Soviet Union has about 50 cars per 1,000 people, compared to 560 per 1,000 in the United States.

Pedestrians account for about 13,000 of the annual Soviet traffic deaths, more than the combined total of the United States, Britain, France and West Germany, the paper said.

It said 13 out of every 100 people injured in Soviet car accidents die, compared to 1.3 percent in the United States.

Driving can be notoriously challenging in Moscow, where main roads are clogged with trucks.