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”.