Mobility and Transport

Road

2020 road safety statistics: what is behind the figures?

2020 road safety statistics: what is behind the figures?

Figure 1: Downward trend in the number of road traffic fatalities in the EU

Figure 2: Trend in road fatality numbers per million inhabitants by country, 2010-2020

Figure 3: Trend in the monthly number of EU road fatalities (2020 compared to average 2017-2019)

Sustainable and safe - road safety as an integral part of the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy

In December 2020, The European Commission adopted its Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy. This strategy is structured around three key objectives: making the European transport system sustainable, smart and resilient. Safety, including on EU roads remains of paramount importance. One of the 10 flagships is therefore dedicated to enhancing transport safety and security. The Strategy sets out a number of  planned initiatives to improve road safety including legislative measures such as the revision of the Driving Licence Directive and of the Directive on cross-border enforcement of traffic rules;  updates to rules on roadworthiness checks; implementing rules for automated vehicles under the General Safety Regulation; measures to address the safe use of micromobility devices such as e-scooters; and potential EU guidance on speed, alcohol and distraction while driving.

Sustained efforts by everyone – public authorities, stakeholders, and citizens themselves – will be essential if we are to meet our goal of zero fatalities from road mobility by 2050.

Country specific information on the number of road fatalities

EU: On average, 42 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, representing a 17% decrease since 2019 and a 36% drop over the last decade (since 2010).

Austria: 38 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which is below the EU average of 42. The number of deaths is the lowest on record and represents a 19% decrease in relation to 2019. Since 2010, the number of fatalities has fallen by 39%, at a similar rate to the EU average.

Belgium: 44 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which is slightly above the EU average. The number of fatalities decreased by 22% between 2019 and 2020 to reach its lowest figure on record. Over the last decade, it fell by 40%, slightly faster than the EU average.

Bulgaria: 67 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which is the third highest rate in the EU. The number of fatalities fell by 26% in 2020 to reach the lowest number ever recorded. This sharp fall contributed to the 40% decrease over the last decade, which is above the EU average.

Croatia: 58 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which is well above the EU average. Road fatalities fell by 20% in 2020 to reach the lowest number ever recorded. Between 2010 and 2020, the number fell by 44%, at a rate significantly faster than the EU average, albeit from a very high level.

Cyprus*: 54 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which is above the EU average. The number of deaths fell by 8% in 2020 and by 20 % over the last decade.

Czechia: 48 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which is above the EU average. Road fatalities fell by 16% in 2020 which is now the safest year since records began. Over the last decade there was a 35% decrease.

Denmark: 27 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which makes it the third best performing country in the EU. The number of road fatalities fell by 22% in 2020 to reach its lowest figure on record. This followed an anomalous 16% increase in 2019. Over the last decade there was a 39% decrease.

Estonia*: 45 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which is slightly above the EU average. Following a sharp rise of 40% in 2018, there was a drop of 22% in 2019 and a rise of 15% in 2020. Over the last decade, the number of fatalities decreased by 24%, at a slower pace than the EU average.

Finland: 40 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which is slightly below the EU average. The number of fatalities increased by 4% in 2020 following the lowest figure on record in 2019. Over the last decade, the number fell by 19%, at a significantly slower pace than the EU average.

France: 39 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which is slightly below the EU average. France registered its lowest number of road fatalities on record in 2019 and again in 2020 when the figure dropped by 21%. Over the past decade, the number of road deaths fell by 36%, in line with the EU average.

Germany: 33 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which is significantly below the EU average. The number of road deaths reached a new record low in 2019 and again in 2020, following a reduction of 11% compared with 2019. Between 2010 and 2020, the number of fatalities fell by 25% at a slower pace than the EU average.

Greece: 54 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which is above the EU average. However, the country has made very significant improvements since 2010 with the biggest downward trend (54%) in the EU. The decrease of 16% in 2020 saw Greece register its lowest figure on record, for the second year running.

Hungary: 46 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which is slightly above the EU average. Following a 25% reduction in 2020, Hungary recorded its lowest number of road fatalities on record. Over the last decade, the number fell by 39%.

Ireland: 30 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which is one of the lowest rates in the EU. The number of road fatalities increased by 6% in 2020 following a 1% rise in 2019. Between 2010 and 2020, fatalities fell by 30%, at a slower pace than the EU average.

Italy: 40 road deaths per million inhabitants estimated in 2020, which is slightly below the EU average. The number of fatalities dropped by 25% in 2020 to reach its lowest level on record. Over the last decade, the number fell by 42%, at a faster rate than the EU average.

Latvia: 74 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which the second highest rate in the EU. A 7% increase in the number of fatalities in 2020 follows a 11% decrease in 2019. Over the longer-term, the number has dropped by 35% since 2010.

Lithuania: 63 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which is well above the EU average. A 6% decrease in the number of fatalities in 2020 follows an 8% increase in 2019. Since 2010, the number has fallen by 41%, at a faster rate than the EU average.

Luxembourg*: 42 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which corresponds to the EU average. The number of fatalities, which is subject to large annual fluctuations, increased by 18% in 2020. This follows a large decrease of 39% in 2019 to reach its lowest figure on record. Over the longer-term, the number has fallen by 19% since 2010.

Malta*: 21 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which makes it the second-best performing country although the overall number is very small and therefore subject to annual fluctuations. The number of deaths dropped by 31% in 2020 and by 15% since 2010.

Netherlands: 31 road deaths per million inhabitants estimated for 2020, which is one of the lowest rates in the EU. Road fatalities fell by 8% in 2020, although since 2010 there has been a 1% increase in the overall number of people killed on the roads in that period.

Poland: 65 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which is the fourth-highest rate in the EU. The number fell by 15% in 2020 to reach its lowest level on record. Between 2010 and 2020 the number dropped by 37%, in line with the EU average.

Portugal: 52 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which is above the EU average. The number of fatalities fell by 18% in 2020. Over the longer-term, the situation has improved significantly with the number of fatalities decreasing by 43%, at a faster pace than the EU average.

Romania: 85 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which is the highest rate in the EU. The number of fatalities fell by 12% in 2020, to reach the lowest figure on record. Since 2010, the number of fatalities has fallen by 31%, although there was no progress between 2014 and 2019.

Slovakia: 45 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which is slightly above the EU average. The number of fatalities decreased by 9% in 2020 to reach its lowest level on record. This follows a 4% increase in 2019. Over the last decade, the number has fallen by 33% around the same pace as the EU average.

Slovenia*: 38 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, which is just below the EU average. The number of fatalities continues to fluctuate: following a 12% increase in 2019, 2020 saw a 22% decrease and represents the lowest on record. Since 2010 the number has fallen by 42%, at a faster pace than the EU average.

Spain: 29 road deaths per million inhabitants estimated in 2020, which is the fourth-lowest rate in the EU. The number of fatalities fell by 21% in 2020 which is the safest year since records began. Over the last decade there has been good progress with the number falling at a faster pace than the EU average (44%).

Sweden: 18 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2020, giving Sweden the best road safety record in the EU. A sharp rise in 2018 was more than reversed in 2019 and the number fell again by 14% in 2020, when the lowest ever number of road deaths was recorded. Over the last decade, the number of fatalities has fallen by 29%.

* For several small Member States where the number of fatalities is fewer than or around 100, the figures tend to fluctuate considerably from year to year meaning that the underlying trend can only be seen over a longer time period.

See also: Road safety: 4 000 fewer people lost their lives on EU roads in 2020 as death rate falls to all time low