Transport accident statistics

:Data from August 2015. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned article update: August 2016

Safety and security are of primary concern for any transport system. According to Eurostat statistics on the causes of death, the number of people in the European Union (EU) who died as a result of transport accidents (covering all transport modes) fell by 40.8 % for men and 43.8 % for women between 2004 and 2012, accounting for 0.6 % of total deaths in 2012.

Figure 1: Rail accidents, EU-28, 2013
(number)
Source: Eurostat/ERA (tran_sf_railac)
Table 1: Rail accidents — number of victims, by type of victim and accident, EU-28, 2013
Source: Eurostat/ERA (tran_sf_railvi)
Figure 2: Persons killed in road accidents, 2013 (1)
(per million inhabitants)
Source: Eurostat/CARE (tran_sf_roadse), (demo_gind)
Table 2: Persons killed in road accidents, by road user, 2013
(%)
Source: Eurostat/CARE (tran_sf_roadus)
Figure 3: Air transport accidents — number of fatalities, EU-28, 2008–10 and 2011–13 (1)
(number)
Source: Eurostat/EASA (avia_ac_fatal)

Main statistical findings

The number of accidents in the EU-28 in 2013 for three transport modes were: 16 aviation accidents, 1 982 railway accidents (data collected by the European Railway Agency – ERA) and 144 inland water transportation accidents (data for Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Romania and Slovakia). The total number of fatalities amounts to 8 from airplane accidents (fatalities from accidents on national territory regardless of the nationality of the aircraft operator); 1 130 from railway accidents, and 16 932 from road accidents (data for 20 out of the 28 EU Member States).

Railway accident statistics

Data on railway accidents are collected by the ERA which was formed to develop common technical specifications and common approaches to safety among EU Member States. ERA also monitors and reports on rail safety in the EU. In 2013, in the EU-28, 1 982 rail accidents occurred, a decrease of 4.2 % compared with 2012. Two EU Member States reported more than 200 accidents in 2013 (Germany and Poland) and seven less than 20 (Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg and Slovenia). The majority of accidents (58 %) were accidents to persons caused by rolling stock in motion. Figure 1 shows the number of accidents by type for 2013.

In the EU-28 in 2013, 48 accidents occurred involving the transport of dangerous goods. In 67 % of them there was a release of dangerous material. Austria reported the highest number of accidents (23, 16 of which included the release of dangerous material), followed by Lithuania (10, none of which included the release of dangerous material).

In 2013, 1 130 people were killed in railway accidents, accounting for 55.3 % of the total victims in the EU-28. Of the total number of victims, 14.2 % were passengers. On average there was a slight decrease in the number of suicides involving railways (2 819 suicides in 2013). The largest increases were reported for Romania (+ 175.0 % from 2007 to 2013), Poland (+ 153.6 %) and the Czech Republic (+ 38.0 %).

Road accident statistics

Data on road accidents are collected through CARE, the European centralised database on road accidents resulting in death or injury across the EU, and are available for 27 out of the 28 EU Member States (data are not yet available for Lithuania) for the period 1999–2013. Since 2001, the number of persons killed in road accidents has been decreasing regularly. While there were 54 439 persons killed in road accidents in the EU-27 in 2012, this figure reached 27 101 in 2013 (data for 23 out of 27 EU Member States). In 2013, Germany and Italy reported the highest number of persons killed (over 3 000). In terms of persons killed per million inhabitants, Poland and Romania held the highest values (see Figure 2). In 2013 the percentage of persons killed between the age of 18 and 24 ranged from 8 % in Hungary to 41 % in Cyprus. On average, 34 % of the persons killed were aged between 25 and 49 (2013 data; average value for 20 EU Member States).

In 2013, on average 9 % of the total road accident fatalities took place on motorways (data for 18 EU Member States), 38 % on urban roads (data for 17 EU Member States) and 53 % on rural roads (data for 17 EU Member States). The majority of people killed in road accidents were drivers (see Table 2).

Inland waterway transportation accident statistics

Data on inland water transportation accidents are available for 8 EU Member States (Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Romania and Slovakia; complete data series for 2010–13). In 2013, 56 % of inland water transportation accidents took place in Romania, followed by Austria (17 %). Romania reported the highest number of accidents for each year in the period 2006–13, with the exception of 2010 (32 accidents in Romania, 38 in Hungary). In the Czech Republic, the number of accidents decreased by 78 % from 1995 to 2013 (from 32 in 1995 to 7 in 2013).

With regard to the transport of dangerous goods, only 3 accidents were reported in 2013 (one in Bulgaria, one in Austria and one in Hungary).

Aviation accident statistics

Data on aviation accidents are gathered using the questionnaire on air transport safety statistics as a basis. In the EU-28 the number of injury accidents (accidents on national territory regardless of the nationality of the aircraft operator) decreased from 61 in 2008 to 16 in 2012. The year with the highest number of accidents was 2009 (103 in total), of which 59 (57 %) took place in the Netherlands and 10 (10 %) in Croatia. Only data on commercial air transport are included. Eurostat has just published data from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) which also includes data on general aviation and aerial works.

In the years 2011–13 the number of fatalities in injury accidents (accidents occurring on national territory regardless of the nationality of the aircraft operator) has been low (five fatalities in the EU-28 in 2012) (see Figure 3). The number of fatalities from air transport accidents in each EU Member States, for the years 2008–10 and 2011–13 varied significantly. The highest number of fatalities for the period 2008–10 were observed in Spain (154 fatalities), and can be attributed to a flight that crashed just after take-off from Madrid’s Barajas International Airport, resulting in those 154 fatalities (August 2008).

Data sources and availability

Eurostat collects data on transport safety for EU Member States, EFTA and candidate countries. The data cover four transport modes: rail, road, inland waterways and air.

The legal basis for the collection of statistics on rail accidents is Regulation 91/2003 on rail transport statistics, amended by Regulation 1192/2003. Closely cooperating with the European Railway Agency (ERA), Eurostat is now being provided with data collected by the ERA following Regulation 332/2007. The ERA was formed to develop common technical specifications and common approaches to safety among EU Member States. ERA also monitors and reports on rail safety in the EU. The corresponding data are accessed by the Eurostat database and include information on rail accidents by type of accident, the release or not of dangerous goods, and by type of victim (killed or injured; personnel or other).

CARE is the European centralised database on road accidents which result in death or injury across the EU, developed on the basis of the Council Decision 93/704/EC. CARE is managed by DG MOVE. The major difference between CARE and most other existing international databases is the high level of disaggregation, i.e. CARE comprises detailed data on individual accidents as collected by the EU Member States. Data are available at both national and NUTS2 levels.

Data on inland waterway transportation safety (i.e. the number of accidents, total and those involving transport of dangerous goods) are available for eight EU Member States. It should be noted that Germany and the Netherlands, two EU Member States with substantial inland waterway traffic, do not report any data.

Regarding aviation, safety-related data include the number of injury accidents and the number of fatalities in injury accidents. Both datasets have an incomplete data series. Only data on commercial air transport are included. Eurostat will soon publish data from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) which will include data on ‘general aviation and aerial work safety for aircraft over 2 250 kg maximum take-off mass (MTOM)’. Data is collected under the questionnaire on air transport safety statistics, which is not supported by any legal acts. Rather, it is based on a gentlemen’s agreement with the participating countries (EU Member States, EFTA and candidate countries). The final section of the questionnaire (part IV) deals with the topic of accidents. It contains requests for information on the number of injuries and the number of fatalities that take place as a result of aircraft accidents. Accidents are measured during the operation of an aircraft, which takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight until such time as all such persons have disembarked (injuries sustained from natural causes or injuries that are self-inflicted are excluded). As with the other modes of transport, a fatal injury is one that results in death within 30 days of the accident.

Context

There are three agencies in the EU dealing with safety in different transport modes: the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the European Railway Agency (ERA) and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). Additionally, the European Commission's DG MOVE deals with the issues related to road safety.

In 2002, the EU adopted a first set of new generation aviation safety rules based on the Regulation (EC) No 1592/2002, which were further extended in 2008 by the Regulation (EC) No 216/2008. In 2011, the European Commission launched a Communication on setting up an aviation safety management system for Europe (COM(2011) 670 final) aiming at improving EU-wide safety performance by identifying the main risks to aviation safety and taking action to address those risks in a coordinated fashion.

The main goals of the EU rail policies are to maintain high standards in railway transportation and align safety requirements EU-wide. A Railway Safety Directive (Directive 2004/49/EC) was launched in 2004, with the aim to ensure the development and improvement of safety on the Community’s railways and improved access to the market for rail transport services. This directive was amended three times, the latest being in 2009 (Directive 2009/149/EC) to set the common safety indicators that shall be reported annually by the safety authorities, starting from 2010.

The third maritime safety package was adopted by the European Parliament on 11 March 2009 and includes two regulations (Regulations No 391/2009 on common rules and standards for ship inspection and survey organisations, and No 392/2009 on the liability of carriers of passengers by sea in the event of accidents) and six directives. The main objective of the safety package is to restore the competitiveness of the maritime sector while benefiting only those operators who respect the safety standards, in particular by increasing the pressure on owners of sub-standard ships.

In July 2010, the European Commission adopted an ambitious Road Safety Programme (COM(2010) 389 final) which aims to cut road deaths in Europe in half in the next decade. The programme includes seven strategic objectives:

  • improved safety measures for vehicles;
  • building safer road infrastructure;
  • boost smart technology;
  • strengthening education and training for road users;
  • better enforcement;
  • establishing a road injuries target; and
  • a new focus on motorcyclists.

See also

Further Eurostat information

Publications

Main tables

Railway transport (t_rail)
Road transport (t_road)
Inland waterways transport (t_iww)
Air transport (t_avia)

Database

Multimodal data (tran)
Transport safety (tran_sf)
Rail transport safety (tran_sf_rail)
Road transport safety (tran_sf_road)
Railway transport (rail)
Railway transport - accidents (rail_ac)
Inland waterways transport (iww)
Inland waterways - accidents (iww_ac)
Air transport (avia)
Air transport -accidents (avia_ac)

Dedicated section

Methodology / Metadata

Source data for tables and figures (MS Excel)

Other information

External links