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UK records lowest number of road deaths in EU
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Published on 19-03-13 

Road fatalities in the UK decreased by 12% in 2012, according to new figures released by the European Commission.   The downward trend was reflected across most of the EU, which recorded a 9% decrease in road deaths, the lowest since EU statistics were first collated, representing a saving of some 3,000 lives last year.

    UK records lowest number of road deaths in EU

    The new figures reverse the upward trend recorded in 2011 with the UK reporting 28 deaths per million inhabitants (pmi), down from 31 deaths pmi the previous year. 

    Other EU countries with low road fatalities figures include: Sweden (31 deaths pmi), the Netherlands and Denmark (32 death pmi) and Ireland (36 deaths pmi).

    The EU Transport Commissioner, Siim Kallas said: "It is hugely encouraging to see these kinds of results, but 75 people still die on Europe's road every day, so there is no room for complacency."

    The picture is not so promising in some parts of the EU however, with Lithuania and Romania both reporting increases in road deaths – 100 deaths pmi and 96 deaths pmi respectively.

    Pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and the elderly are notably the most vulnerable groups of road users with accidents more likely in urban areas.

    The EU wants to set a target for reducing serious injuries caused by road accidents, to accompany its goal for halving road fatalities between 2011 and 2020, because whilst the number of road deaths decreased by 43% during the last decade, the number of seriously injured people only decreased by 36%.

    It is estimated some 250,000 people are seriously injured every year on EU roads, and that is in addition to the 28,000 road fatalities in 2012.

    Apart from the human suffering caused by injuries, the socio-economic costs are approximately around 2% of GDP, equal to around €250bn in 2012.

    However, as member states use different reporting criteria the true picture – based on consistent medical criteria – could be very different.

    The first step has already been taken with EU countries agreeing on a common medically-based definition of "serious injury", to be used in road safety statistics. The new EU common definition is based on the "maximum abbreviated injury scale" (MAIS), commonly used by medical professionals and will enable reliable data to be gathered and information on the scope and type of problem faced.

    What next?

    In June 2013, EU transport ministers will discuss the Commission's working paper which sets out an approach for a serious road traffic injuries strategy.  Each member state will ultimately decide on which method of data gathering and reporting suits them best. 

    It is hoped the new common definition and data gathering procedures will be applied from the beginning of 2014, with the first reliable figures being published in 2015.

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    Last update: 21/03/2013  |Top