EU road deaths – progress falters

12.00 | 22 June 2015 | | 4 comments

Progress on reducing road deaths in the EU slowed to just 0.6% last year, the worst annual reduction since the first common EU target was set in 2001, according to new analysis published by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC).

While describing the UK as a road safety champion, Antonio Avenoso, executive director of ETSC, said it has “dropped its guard in recent years”.

ETSC says that EU member states now need to cut deaths by almost 8% each year until 2020 to meet the target set in 2010 to halve deaths within a decade.

ETSC says France, Ireland, Germany and the UK were among the 12 EU member states that saw an increase in the number of road deaths last year compared to 2013, while Croatia, Slovenia, Finland, Greece, Luxembourg and Malta all recorded reductions of around 10% or more.

Antonio Avenoso said: “These latest figures reinforce the message that road safety requires consistent political support at the highest level, constant vigilance on enforcement and network safety management, and the need to respond to evolving challenges such as increased numbers of people walking and cycling and an ageing society. 

“It’s very disappointing to see the UK, a road safety champion, dropping its guard in recent years: we are now seeing the fallout with progress slowing and even going into reverse.“

ETSC’s figures also show that in 2014 more than 200,000 people were seriously injured in road collisions, a rise of 3% in one year. ETSC is “deeply concerned” that a planned EU strategic target to reduce serious injuries appears to have been dropped despite being “repeatedly promised by the current European Commission”.


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    My clear impression since (Tony) Blair started “Target” mania for many policy areas has been that they have been counter-productive, leading the skewed thinking and planning based on achieving Brownie Points, regardless of the unintended consequences.

    Dave is right about the appalling change of fatality trend from 1994 or so, when the rate of reduction more than halved which the authorities failed to notice because KSI (the target parameter) continued to fall. That made no sense at all of course and it took the BMJ to point out in 2005 that the SI falls were largely spurious and due to falling reporting levels.

    Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield
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    It’s good to see the importance of fatality rates starting to be recognised at last but, before we can have any idea what to do about it, we need to know why the rates change. Fatality rates have faltered before eg a period of over a decade from the mid 90’s. This period included the latter part of the 1st GB road safety target and the 1st part of the 2nd target. The evidence appears to suggest that setting targets, and the actions that come from them, may not produce a net benefit.

    Dave Finney, Slough
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    These percentage reductions of individual countries do not tell the whole story, and to quote: – “It’s very disappointing to see the UK, a road safety champion, dropping its guard in recent years: we are now seeing the fallout with progress slowing and even going into reverse” also does not reflect all the circumstances, some of which may be due to reductions in road traffic policing.

    Such graphs can amount to wishful thinking where the interactions of human beings are involved. Therein lay one solution. Imagine zero accidents through totally driverless vehicles throughout Europe. We could all take up stamp collecting.

    Derek Reynolds, Salop.
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    Oh dear. Perhaps this is the ideal forum for people to put forward some ideas as to how they might solve this problem.

    Duncan MacKillop. No surprise – No accident.
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