Urgent action needed on road safety as new figures show increase in deaths

Published Fri, 01/04/2016 - 07:31

The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) says the European Commission must stop delaying new road safety policy measures if it is to help reverse an increase in deathson EU roads.    
 
Within the last year, the European Commission was expected to come forward with revisions to vehicle safety, pedestrian protection and infrastructure safety rules as well as a new target and measures to reduce serious road injuries.  Proposals on all four have been delayed, and it is not clear when they will see the light of day.
 
Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of ETSC said:
“Last year, the European Commission described the poor progress on road safety as a ‘wake-up call’. But twelve months later, four critical policy measures have been delayed. We hope that the announcement of today’s even more worrying figures will finally lead to some more concerted action.
 
“This Commission has repeatedly emphasised its ‘better regulation’ agenda. But road safety requires constant vigilance as well as new measures with legal backing.  A failure to regulate, in the case of road safety, could lead to more deaths and serious injuries.”
 
ETSC says EU member states also need to take action to help improve road safety.  Declines in levels of police enforcement, a failure to invest in safer infrastructure and a lack of action on tackling speed and drink driving have also played a role in recent poor progress in some member states. ETSC’s in-depth analysis of the latest national road safety data will be launched on 20 June at the ETSC Road Safety Performance Index conference in Brussels.
 
The European Commission has, for the first time, published a figure for the number of people seriously injured on Europe’s roads : 135,000 in 2014. This move required the adoption, by all EU member states, of a standardised definition of what constitutes a serious road injury, as well as a standardised way of collecting the data. ETSC welcomes this long overdue and positive step in the right direction.  But a long term target and measures to reduce the numbers seriously injured are now needed. They were promised last year but not delivered. ETSC says that now the data are available, there is no reason to delay further. 

Summary of placings, courtesy of Drive Europe News:

After decreases of 8 percent in 2012 and 2013, last year is the second consecutive year of near stagnant results.

Malta has the safest roads - with 26 deaths per million of population

Sweden has reverse a long slide. It cut deaths by 2 percent to 27 per million to claim second place (1 per million behind Malta).

In third place is the Netherlands which has published its road safety stats alongside other EU countries for the first time this year. It remains at 28 per million.

Meanwhile, despite a fall in road deaths of 1 percent, the UK stays at 29 per million and takes fourth place. 

Other countries:

Denmark achieved an 8 per cent cut to 30 per million.

Spain, which has made significant gains in recent years, will be disappointed to stick at 36 per million, now alongside Ireland which cut road deaths by an impressive 15 percent in 2015.

France remains above the EU average at 54.

Other outliers in Western Europe include Belgium at 67, after a 4 per cent rise last year, and Luxembourg at 58 – though the Grand Duchy cut deaths by 9 per cent. Its first fixed speed cameras which recently came on stream will see that drop further this year. 

Germany manages 43 deaths per million after a 3 per cent increase last year.

At the other end, Latvia (94) and Lithuania (82) came third and fourth from bottom – despite cuts in deaths of around 10 per cent each – though Estonia (after a 10 per cent cut) comes in at 50 deaths per million. 

Poland has made good strides in recent years. From a death rate of 102 in 2010, last year that came down to 77.

At the bottom of the pile are Romania and Bulgaria, tied at 95 deaths per million inhabitants, and both with 4 percent year-on-year increases.