New EU casualty statistics met with mixed reception

12.00 | 29 March 2017 | | 2 comments

New statistics show that there was a 2% year-on-year fall in the number of fatalities recorded across the EU during 2016.

Published yesterday (28 Mar), the European Commission (EC) stats show that there were 25,500 deaths – 600 fewer than in 2015 and 6,000 fewer than in 2010. An additional 135,000 people were seriously injured on the EU’s roads last year.

Violeta Bulc, the EC commissioner for transport, described the figures as ‘something positive to build on’, while also accepting that it is unlikely that the EU will meet its target of halving road fatalities between 2010 and 2020.

In contrast, the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) says the figures represent a ‘third year of poor results’.

The EC says following two years of stagnation, 2016 marks the return of a positive downward trend, adding that over the last six years road fatalities have been cut by 19%.

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Violeta Bulc said: “Today’s statistics are an improvement and something positive to build on. But it’s not the figures that worry me the most – it’s the lives lost, and the families left behind.

“Just today we will lose another 70 lives on EU roads and five-times as many will sustain serious injuries! I’m inviting all stakeholders to step up their efforts so we can meet the objective of halving the number of road deaths between 2010 and 2020.”

The ETSC says road deaths will now need to fall by 11.5% a year in order to meet the EU target.

Antonio Avenoso, ETSC executive director, said: “With around 500 deaths on EU roads every week, a figure that has hardly budged in three years, bold action from the EU and member states is long overdue.

“EU minimum vehicle safety standards have not been updated since 2009. A plan to require carmakers to install life-saving technologies such as automated emergency braking, overridable intelligent speed assistance and passenger seat belt reminders in all cars was postponed last month until March 2018, and even then will face several years before the changes are implemented. Every day of delay will mean more avoidable deaths.

“Member states also need to re-prioritise action on enforcement, infrastructure safety improvements and measures to make pedestrians and cyclists safer on our roads. Road deaths and serious injuries devastate lives and cost the European economy billions every year.”




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    The target should always be zero, and every time that isn’t achieved the authorities should be held to account. We have had motor vehicles on our roads for well over a century now, and we still don’t seem to be able to realise that they are only safe in places where road laws and regulations are redundant and irrelevant. It is the infrastructure design that dictates how safe the roads are, and little else other than societal norms.

    Good infrastructure allows the irrevocable laws of human nature to keep the roads safe, bad infrastructure relies on the suspension of the laws of human nature and a reliance on all drivers acting as automatons for its success. Imagine how successful bridge designs would be if the designer had that attitude towards the laws of gravity!

    Charles, England
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    Every road death and serious injury is a tragedy for the victims and their families. But there is no getting away from the reality that halving EU road fatalities by 2020 was destined to be a worthy aspiration rather than a practical target.

    Pat, Wales
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