Mobility and Transport

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Road safety: Europe’s roads are getting safer but progress remains too slow

Road safety: Europe’s roads are getting safer but progress remains too slow

  1. Română
  2. English
11/06/2020

Compared to previous years, fewer people lost their lives on EU roads in 2019, according to preliminary figures published today by the European Commission. An estimated 22 800 people died in a road crash last year, almost 7 000 fewer fatalities than in 2010 – a decrease of 23%. Compared with 2018, the number fell by 2%. With an average of 51 road deaths per 1 million inhabitants, Europe remains by far the safest region in the world when it comes to road safety.

Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean said: "No deaths and serious injuries on European roads by 2050. This is our goal. We aim at 50% fewer deaths, and 50% fewer serious injuries by 2030, and we know our target is achievable. The EU has seen a substantial decrease in road fatalities in the past, but stagnating figures in recent years. In addition, disparities among countries remain huge. We will reach our goal only through a combination of legislative measures, adequate funding, standards for vehicles and infrastructure, digitalization, and best practices exchange."

The underlying trend remains downward. Eight Member States registered their lowest fatality numbers on record in 2019: Croatia, Finland France, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden. However, progress has slowed in most countries. As a result, the EU target of halving the number of road deaths between 2010 and the end of 2020 will not be met. Although it is likely there will be significantly less road fatalities in 2020 following the measures taken to tackle coronavirus, this will not be enough to meet the target.

While Member States' performance in road safety is converging, there are still four times more road deaths in the worst-performing country than in the best. The safest roads were in Sweden (22 deaths/million inhabitants) and Ireland (29/million), while Romania (96/million), Bulgaria (89/million) and Poland (77/million) reported the highest fatality rates in 2019. The EU average was 51 deaths per million inhabitants.

Some countries have made enormous progress: Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, the three Baltic countries (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) and Croatia recorded higher-than-average reductions (between 30 and 40%) of road fatalities.

Background

For the next decade, the EU has set in the EU road safety policy framework 2021-2030 a new 50% reduction target for deaths and, for the first time, also for serious injuries by 2030. The Stockholm Declaration of February 2020 paves the way for further global political commitment for the next decade.

It is estimated that, for every life lost, five more people suffer serious injuries with life-changing consequences (around 120 000 people in 2019). The external cost of road crashes has been estimated to be around 280 billion euros, or around 2% of EU GDP.

The Commission's Strategic Action Plan on Road Safety and EU road safety policy framework 2021-2030 also set out ambitious road safety plans to reach zero road deaths by 2050 ('Vision Zero').

To reach “Vision Zero” the Commission is implementing the Safe System in the EU. This Safe System requires safer vehicles, safer infrastructure, better use of protective equipment, lower speeds and better post-crash care. In addition, the EU will work to ensure better cross-border enforcement of traffic offences, digitalise driving licences and develop new ways to help Member States with comparatively poor road safety records.

More Information

MEMO: Recent policy initiatives and road safety statistics in more detail

Commission's road safety work and EU road safety statistics

Road deaths per million inhabitants – preliminary data for 2019

 

2010

2018

2019

% change 2018-2019

% change 2010-2019

Belgium

77

53

56

6%

-24%

Bulgaria

105

87

89

3%

-19%

Czechia

77

62

58

-6%

-23%

Denmark

46

30

35

20%

-20%

Germany

45

40

37

-7%

-16%

Estonia

59

51

39

-22%

-34%

Ireland

47

29

29

1%

-33%

Greece

113

65

65

-1%

-45%

Spain

53

39

36

-6%

-31%

France

64

49

48

0%

-19%

Croatia

99

77

73

-6%

-30%

Italy

70

55

55

-1%

-20%

Cyprus

73

57

59

6%

-13%

Latvia

103

78

69

-12%

-39%

Lithuania

95

62

66

6%

-38%

Luxembourg

64

60

36

-39%

-31%

Hungary

74

65

62

-5%

-19%

Malta

31

38

32

-11%

23%

Netherlands

32

35

34

-3%

9%

Austria

66

46

46

0%

-26%

Poland

103

76

77

0%

-26%

Portugal

80

66

61

-8%

-33%

Romania

117

96

96

0%

-22%

Slovenia

67

44

49

13%

-25%

Slovakia

65

48

51

7%

-25%

Finland

51

43

37

-14%

-24%

Sweden

28

32

22

-32%

-17%

EU

67

52

51

-2%

-23%

United Kingdom

30

28

28

0%

-3%

Switzerland

42

27

22

-20%

-43%

Norway

43

20

20

1%

-48%

Iceland

25

52

17

-67%

-25%

The 2019 figures are based on provisional data for some countries and may be subject to minor changes when the final data are released in autumn 2020. The percentage changes in the table are based on the absolute number of fatalities, not the rate per million inhabitants. Unless otherwise stated, all EU aggregate figures reflect the situation in the EU without the United Kingdom. While this inevitably leads to a smaller number of fatalities in the Union, the EU rate per million inhabitants has increased due to the UK's comparatively good road safety record.