The European Commission says it is committed to improving road safety, despite new figures highlighting a lack of progress in reducing casualties.
The figures show that in 2018, there were approximately 25,100 road fatalities in the 28 EU member countries – a year-on-year fall of 1%.
While the 2018 number is 20% fewer than 2010 – when 31,500 road deaths were reported – it is only 3% fewer than 2013 (26,000 deaths).
Violeta Bulc, EU commissioner for transport, said: “While I of course welcome any reduction in road traffic fatality figures, even a single road death is unacceptable.
“We have been assertive and ambitious in tackling road safety, adopting a strategic action plan, concrete actions on vehicle and infrastructure safety, and a policy framework for the next decade.
“As we continue to work towards ‘Vision Zero’ – zero road deaths by 2050 – we are committed to working with all member states, as well as the road safety community, to provide a level of safety that EU citizens demand and deserve.”
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has expressed disappointment, bemoaning the lack of progress made during the last five years.
However, ETSC says there are reasons to be optimistic for the future – including the updated minimum safety standards for new vehicles, which look set to be introduced from 2022.
In March, the DfT confirmed the standards will apply in the UK whatever the outcome of Brexit.
How does the UK fare?
At 28 deaths per million inhabitants, the UK has the best road safety record in 2018 – followed by Denmark (30 deaths per million inhabitants) and Ireland (31/million).
This compares to the EU average of 49 deaths per million inhabitants.
As an overall trend, the performance gap between EU member states has been narrowing year by year.
Last year, only two countries recorded a fatality rate higher than 80 deaths per million inhabitants (Bulgaria and Romania), compared to seven in 2010.