The UK is failing to make sufficient progress in its bid to reach the EU target of halving the number of road deaths in the decade to 2020, according to the latest edition of an annual report.
The 12th 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 UK’s 2017 estimate of 1,783 deaths is based on the Great Britain provisional total for the year ending September 2017, published in February, and the final 2017 data for Northern Ireland.
The 2017 estimate represents a year-on-year reduction of 4.1%, but is only 6.4% fewer than the 2010 figure of 1,905.
The UK’s 6.4% reduction since 2010 is far below the EU average of 20.1% – and ranks the UK fourth bottom, ahead of Sweden, the Netherlands and Malta.
Despite this, the UK remained the EU’s third safest country in 2017 – behind Norway and Sweden – with 27 deaths per million inhabitants.
On the whole, the report shows that progress has ‘stagnated’ across the EU over the last four years – with the number of road deaths falling by just 3% since 2013.
As a result, for the first time since the ETSC launched its Road Safety Performance Index programme, the organisation will not make its annual award for progress and leadership on road safety to any country.
The ETSC is now calling for strong political will, urgent measures and substantial investment in safe infrastructure to reduce the 500 deaths that occur on EU roads every single week.
Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the ETSC, said: “If two passenger planes fell out of the sky every week in Europe, the public and political response would be transformational.
“And improvements in aviation safety in Europe over the last 50 years have been just that. We now need a matching system-wide approach to road safety.
“Last month, the European Commission announced bold measures to save lives on European roads with safer vehicles and safer infrastructure. But these measures need political support from Member States to avoid being watered down and they will take time.
“Governments across the EU must also up their game in months, not years, with better enforcement and urgent measures to reduce the main causes of death and serious injury, namely speeding, drink driving, distraction and failure to wear a seatbelt.”