New research has recommended that the EU should set a target to reduce the number of people seriously injured in road collisions, not just the number of deaths.
Carried out for the European Commission (EC), the research examined real world collision data and investigation outcomes from across Europe in a bid to better understand the most common collision situations that result in serious injuries.
Official targets to reduce road deaths in the EU have been in place since 2001, but there is no equivalent for serious injuries.
135,000 people were seriously injured on European roads in 2014, according to figures published by the EC for the first time in April 2016. The figures also show that while the number of deaths on European roads has fallen ‘dramatically’ over the last decade, serious injuries have declined at a much slower rate.
According to the new research, cyclists are most likely to be seriously injured when travelling in urban areas with 30mph speed limits – with more collisions occurring in summer months, and in the afternoon. Pedestrians, however, are more at risk in winter months, with the elderly and children the most likely victims.
Seriously injured motorcyclists and car occupants are most likely to be male and young – though middle aged motorcyclists are also heavily represented in the collision statistics.
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) says the EC was expected to set a target to reduce serious road injuries in 2015 – but this never materialised.
Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the ETSC said: “Serious injuries on our roads continue to have a devastating impact on millions of victims and their families.
“We know that EU targets, combined with the right measures have had a dramatic effect on reducing deaths. It’s essential that we now apply the same thinking to serious injuries.
“We have the data, and this new report highlights the situations and groups that would most benefit, so it’s time for the Commission to finally give the green light.”
Just last month public health and medical experts from across Europe called for the introduction of a new target and measures to cut serious road injuries. The health professionals expressed their views in a letter sent on 25 October to Jean Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission.