EU road safety progress “grinding to a halt”
A “negligible” 1% fall in EU road deaths in 2014 represents a “drastic slowdown in progress”, according to the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC).
The 1% decrease in 2014, revealed in data released yesterday (24 Mar) by the European Commission, follows falls of 8% in both 2012 and 2013. And the total number of EU road deaths has decreased by 18.2% since 2010.
The EU describes the 2014 figure as “disappointing” and “falling short of the intended target decrease”, and the ETSC says it puts at risk the EU's target of halving road deaths by 2020.
While the country specific statistics show that the number of road deaths varies greatly across the EU, the average EU fatality rate for 2014 is expected to be 51 road deaths per million inhabitants.
Malta, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom continue to report the lowest road fatality rates, with less than 30 deaths per million inhabitants. In contrast, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania report fatality rates above 90 deaths per million inhabitants.
Countries reporting a better than average improvement over the years include Greece, Portugal and Spain, while Denmark, Croatia, Malta, Cyprus, Romania, Italy, Slovenia and the Czech Republic report a road death reduction above the EU average for 2010-2014.
Violeta Bulc, EU commissioner for transport, said: "The figures published today should be a wake-up call. They also remind us that road safety requires constant attention and further efforts. We need to step up our work for the coming years, to reach the intended EU target of halving the number of road deaths by 2020.”
Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the ETSC, said: “While there is no single factor that explains today's deeply worrying figures, there is no doubt that in recent years the EU, and many member states, have shifted road safety way down the priority list.
“If you cut back on police enforcement and road maintenance, if you don't do enough to protect the increasing numbers of people walking and cycling, and if you ignore new trends such as distraction - it's obvious that the numbers dying will not just stagnate, they will start to increase.
"We need to see short and medium term action from national governments and from the EU, starting today.”