Although European roads remain the safest in the world – in 2017, the EU counted 49 road fatalities per one million inhabitants, against 174 deaths per million globally, Romania’s road safety performance has not improved between 2016 and 2017, as European Commission’s 2017 road safety statistics reveal. However, its overall reduction rate of 19 percent since 2010 was very close to the EU average (20 percent).
Last year, Member States with the best road safety scores were Sweden (25) and the UK (27), followed by the Netherlands (31), Denmark (32), Ireland (33) and Estonia (36), while the highest fatality rate were in Romania (98) and Bulgaria (96). While the EU average decrease in the number of road deaths from 2016 to 2017 was only 2 percent, some countries made much more progress, such as Estonia with -32 percent and Slovenia with -20 percent.
According to data from the World Health Organisation, about 1.3 million people die each year on the world’s roads, of which 25.300 lost their lives in the EU last year. While the last two years give rise to some optimism, it will be very challenging for the EU to reach its ambitious target of halving the number of road deaths between 2010 and 2020.
The Commission estimates that 135 000 people are seriously injured on Europe’ roads every year. The majority of those are vulnerable road users, i.e. pedestrians, cyclists and drivers of powered two-wheelers. Overall, only 8 percent of road fatalities in 2017 occurred on motorways versus 55 percent on rural roads, and 37 percent in urban areas.
In 2017, vulnerable road users accounted for almost half of the road victims. 21 percent of all people killed on roads were pedestrians, 25 percent two-wheelers (14 percent were motorcyclists, 8 percent were cyclists and 3 percent mopeds riders). Pedestrian and cyclist fatalities have decreased at a lower rate than other fatalities (by respectively 15 percent and 2 percent from 2010 to 2016, compared to the overall fatality decrease of 20 percent).
More than 3.000 young people die yearly in road crashes in the EU. Almost 14 percent of people killed on EU roads are aged between 18 and 24, while only 8 percent of the population falls within this age group. Young people are far more likely to be victims of road crashes than any other age group.