EU road deaths decreased by 17% in 2020
The number of traffic deaths in 2020 went down spectacularly. According to calculations of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), in the past ten years, it decreased by 37%. In 2020, 18 844 people died on European roads, 3 900 or 17% less than in 2019. The main reason for this is the decreased traffic during the corona pandemic, according to the ETSC.
In 2010, the European Union aimed at halving the number of road casualties, but this target was not achieved. Only one EU Member State exceeded the EU target in cutting road deaths by 50% over the decade to 2020. Greece is the only country in the EU that succeeded with -54% fewer traffic deaths in ten years.
The country, therefore, is the winner of the 2021 ETSC Road Safety Performance Index Award, given in recognition of outstanding efforts to improve road safety. The award recognizes Greece’s efforts in setting targets and improving infrastructure and education efforts.
Norway, a non-EU country, reduced the number of road deaths by 55%. Portugal, Spain, Croatia, Belgium, Slovenia, Italy, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Denmark, Austria, and Hungary achieved a decrease above the EU average of 37%. Progress in the Netherlands is slowest: in ten years, the number of road victims decreased by 5%. In the UK, 14% in ten years.
Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of ETSC: “Road safety is, in the end, a public health issue. Covid has killed 3,5 million people worldwide. Over the last decade, at least 13 million have died on the world’s roads.
The extraordinary and necessary global response to the Covid-19 pandemic has shown how policymakers and society as a whole can act when most people are working toward a common goal. Can we apply the same focus to the challenges of road safety?”
“Success is not guaranteed. Every road user has the right and responsibility to move around without risking their own life or the lives of others. Policymakers have a responsibility to build a safe system that helps protect everyone. Will they approach it with the energy and dedication that many have approached the challenges of Covid-19?”
Call for action
Today, June 17th, the European Parliament’s transport committee will vote on a report on EU transport policy for the next decade. ETSC, together with seven other organizations, has called for action on speed, particularly in urban areas.
ETSC is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the number of deaths and injuries in transport in Europe.