Last year, 25 624 people died in road accidents in the European Union (EU), some 500 fewer than the previous year (-2%). There has been a downward trend over the last 20 years in the number of road traffic victims in the EU. Compared with 1996, the number of road fatalities has fallen by almost 35 000 persons (-57%), from slightly over 60 000 to less than 26 000 in 2016.
For comparison, in 2016, 150 people were killed in air accidents on EU territory and 963 in rail accidents.
Across the EU Member States, the highest number of road traffic victims in 2016 were recorded in France (3 477), Italy (3 283), Germany (3 206) and Poland (3 026), followed by Romania (1 915), the United Kingdom (1 860) and Spain (1 810).
Number of road fatalities relative to the population lowest in Sweden and the United Kingdom, highest in Bulgaria and Romania
Compared with the population of each Member State, the lowest rates of road fatalities in 2016 were observed in Sweden (27 road traffic victims reported in the country per million inhabitants), the United Kingdom (28) and the Netherlands (32), ahead of Denmark (37), Germany, Ireland and Spain (all 39).
At the opposite end of the scale, the highest rates were recorded in Bulgaria (99 road traffic victims in the country per million inhabitants) and Romania (97), followed by Latvia and Poland (both 80), Greece (75) and Croatia (73).
In 2016, there were in total 50 road traffic victims per million inhabitants in the EU as a whole.
Significant long-term downward trends
Over a long time period, a clear downward trend can be observed in all Member States except Malta. In particular, the number of road traffic victims has been cut by two-thirds or more in Portugal (from 2 730 in 1996 to 563 in 2016, or -79.4%), Latvia (-73.4%), Lithuania (-71.8%), Spain (-67.0%), Greece (-66.7%) and Slovenia (-66.6%).
Overall in the EU, the number of road traffic victims more than halved (-57.4%) between 1996 and 2016.
This news item, largely based on data extracted from the European Commission CARE database, marks the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, commemorated on the third Sunday of November each year.