Road fatalities across the EU decreased by 9% in 2012 compared with the previous year, according to provisional figures published by the European Commission.
2012 saw the fewest number of people killed in road traffic collisions since the EU started collecting road casualty data.
Vice-president Siim Kallas, commissioner for transport, said: “2012 was a landmark year for European road safety, with the lowest ever number of road deaths recorded.
“A 9% decrease means that 3,000 lives were saved last year. It is hugely encouraging to see these kinds of results. Still 75 people die on Europe’s roads every day, so there is no room for complacency. We have ambitious goals to cut EU road deaths in half by 2020 and we need to keep up this momentum to get there.
“Road deaths are only the tip of the iceberg. We need a strategy to bring down the number of serious road injuries everywhere in the EU.”
Country by country statistics show that the number of road deaths still varies greatly across the EU. The countries with the lowest number of road fatalities remain the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark, reporting around 30 deaths per million people.
Statistics for 2011 saw an increase in the number of killed vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, motorcyclists and elderly people. However, based on the provisional data, the number of vulnerable road user fatalities decreased substantially in 2012.
The European Road Safety Action Programme 2011-2020 sets out challenging plans to reduce the number of road deaths on Europe’s roads by half in the next 10 years. It contains ambitious proposals focussed on making improvements to vehicles, infrastructure, and road users’ behaviour.
The European Commission has also published a document on serious road traffic injuries outlining the next steps towards a comprehensive EU strategy on serious road injuries. It includes: a common definition of serious road traffic injury (applicable from 2013); a way forward for Member States to improve data collection on serious road accidents; the principle of adopting an EU-level target for the reduction of serious road traffic injuries.
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