Road deaths: UK among Europe’s slowest progressing countries

12.00 | 22 June 2017 | | 7 comments

The UK is one of the European countries making the slowest progress when it comes to reducing the number of road deaths, a new report has highlighted.

The 11th Road Safety Performance Index Report, produced by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), compares statistics from 32 European countries – including the 28 EU member states.

The report shows that road deaths fell by just 1.4% in the UK between 2010 and 2016, way short of both the EU28 average for the period (18.7%) and the target for 2020, which requires member countries to have reduced road deaths by 34% from 2010.

Of the 32 countries featured in the report, only Luxembourg (no change), Sweden (1.5% increase) and Malta (46.7% increase), failed to make better progress than the UK over the seven-year period.

Published yesterday (21 June), the Road Safety Performance Index Report uses the provisional GB figure for the year ending September 2016 (1,810 deaths) – as the data for 2016 is yet to be released – combined with the final 2016 data for Northern Ireland (63 deaths).

Looking at year-on-year progress, the UK’s 4.1% increase in fatalities in 2016 ranks it 24th out of the 32 counties. The figure is also above the EU28 average, which is a 2.0% reduction.

However in terms of deaths per million inhabitants during 2016, the UK is fourth in the table with 29. The EU28 average is 51.

On the back of the new report, Brake has once again called for urgent action to reduce the number of road deaths in the UK. The charity described the lack of a UK target as a ‘disgrace’ and has joined the call – initiated earlier this year by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) – for the creation of a Road Collision Investigation Branch.

Jason Wakeford, Brake spokesman, said: "Reductions in the numbers killed on UK roads have stagnated in recent years.

“It’s a disgrace that there are currently no UK targets for reducing the number of road deaths and we are calling for a UK target to be set as a priority for the Government.

"We need the creation of a Road Collision Investigation Branch, to help better understand road crashes so that lessons can be learned to prevent future deaths, alongside extra police resource for traffic enforcement.

“Brake is also calling on the European Commission to introduce new vehicle safety standards, including mandating Intelligent Speed Adaptation – helping drivers stay within speed limits.”

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    Anni (three posts below)

    You are correct, our mistake now rectified. Thanks for pointing this out.

    Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Whilst we should not be complacent about any road casualties, this annual “UK having slow progress” vs “UK having lowest rates” is part of the “Law of Diminishing Returns”. All casualties are important as less than 200 mm can separate a blow to the arm and a fatal head trauma and for a 0 hours worker a month off work could lead to loss of employment, loss of home and worse.

    Mark Foweraker, Caerphilly
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    “We need the creation of a Road Collision Investigation Branch,..” Branch of what? Council highways and traffic departments have such teams, as do the police.

    “Brake has once again called for urgent action to reduce the number of road deaths in the UK”. Just deaths? Are Brake not bothered about life-changing injuries as well? Better to have said “urgent action to reduce the number of collisions” – covers everything then.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    You need to check your country codes. The 0% country is Luxembourg, not Lithuania, which recorded the second/highest drop in road deaths.

    Anni, MT
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    This is a non-story, and I am disappointed that the IAM is promoting it. European statistics demonstrate that the UK’s roads are some of the safest in Europe, and indeed the world. Of course there remains room for improvement, which should continue in the future.

    William Read, Staffordshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    If the 408 pedestrian deaths on our roads in 2015 had all been in one place on one day there would have been a national outcry. The problem with road safety is not that the solutions are not available or affordable, but that politicians and transport industry have failed to give road danger reduction appropriate priority, funding or resources.

    The frequency of road death and injury may be low enough not to register in our everyday consciousness, but is high enough to be huge drain on our economy and collective well-being.

    At 20’s Plenty we see how communities in the UK and elsewhere are ready for change in our systems and approach to moving hard vehicles around in the presence of soft people.

    Rod King, Warrington, Cheshire, 20’s Plenty for Us
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    And the point being?

    Maybe we did well and significantly reduced our death toll a number of years ago and therefore with little ongoing interventions due to financial restraints we appear to be slowing down when in fact taken over a period of time we are doing quite well.

    It’s other countries that seem to be doing extremely well and I just wonder what some countries can or have done in terms of interventions that have lead them to be so successful in drastically and dramatically reducing their death tolls. I think that we need to investigate these figures further. If whatever they are doing is correct then lets see if we can do better.

    Bob Craven Lancs
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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