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Road deaths decrease across Europe for second year in a row

The European Commission released the statistics for 2017 this week.

Image: Shutterstock/sraphotohut

THE NUMBER OF road deaths across Europe has decreased for the second year in a row latest statistics show.

The preliminary 2017 road safety statistics which were released this week by the Commission, show a decrease in the number of fatalities of around 2%.

A total of 25,300 people lost their lives on EU roads in 2017, which is 300 fewer than in 2016 (-2%) and 6,200 fewer than in 2010 (-20%). The Commission said that while this trend is encouraging, reaching the EU objective of halving road fatalities between 2010 and 2020 “will now be very challenging”.

The Irish Road Safety Authority said:

Ireland’s road safety performance is better than the EU average and has improved further from 2016 to 2017 (-15%), reaching 33 fatalities per million inhabitants. This is an encouraging trend but it is important that we do not allow ourselves to become complacent. Last year, cyclist fatalities increased by 50 % and this is something that cannot go unnoticed. Ireland’s ranking as the 5th safest country in the EU is down to the country’s commitment to road safety and the efforts of individual road users in making roads safer.

It also estimated that another 135,000 people were seriously injured last year, including a large proportion of vulnerable users:

  • Pedestrians
  • Cyclists
  • Motorcyclists.

Beside the victims, road fatalities and injuries also affect the society as a whole, as they have an estimated socio-economic cost of €120 billion a year.

The Commission said that this should lead to fresh efforts from all actors to make European roads safer.

It’s currently working on a series of concrete measures to spur further substantial progress.

Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “25,300 people lost their lives on our roads last year, and many more were left with life-changing injuries. Behind these figures are as many stories of grief and pain. Road safety is of course a responsibility shared with the Member States, but I believe that the EU can do more to better protect Europeans. The Commission is currently working on a series of concrete measures that we plan to announce in the coming weeks. The ambition is clear: saving more lives on our roads.”

Safe roads

There are an average of 49 road fatalities per one million inhabitants, which means that European roads “remained by far the safest in the world in 2017″.

Within the EU, Sweden (25 deaths per million inhabitants), the UK (27), the Netherlands (31) and Denmark (32) reported the best records in 2017.

Compared to 2016, Estonia and Slovenia reported the largest drop in fatalities with respectively -32% and -20%.

The performance gap between EU member states further narrowed in 2017, with only two of them recording a fatality rate higher than 80 deaths per million inhabitants: Romania and Bulgaria.

The commission is currently working on a new road safety framework for 2020-2030, together with a series of concrete measures contributing to safer roads.

It said:

This could include a revision of the European rules on vehicle safety, on infrastructure safety management and an initiative for the safe transition to cooperative, connected and autonomous mobility.

The commission is planning to present these measures to member states in spring 2018.

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