First assessment of road fatalities in Europe for 2021. The European Commission thus estimates that 19,800 people were killed on European roads in 2021. That is an increase of 5% (1,000 more deaths) compared to 2020. But a 13% reduction (3,000 fewer deaths) compared to 2019. Provisional figures that remain well below the pre-pandemic level. Note that between 2019 and 2020, the number of road deaths fell by 17%.
As a reminder, the EU wants to halve the number of road deaths and serious injuries by 2030. An objective defined within the framework of the European Commission’s strategic action plan for road safety. And European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, said: “As traffic returns to normal on the roads, we must ensure that we will not return to pre-pandemic figures for road fatalities. »
More or less safe roads depending on the EU countries
The overall death rate ranking for EU countries (which excludes those with less than 100 deaths per year) remains roughly the same in 2021. The safest roads are still in Sweden which has 18 deaths per million inhabitants. Unlike Romania (93 per million), with the highest rate in 2021. On average, the EU recorded 44 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2021. And nine Member States (Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Cyprus, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal and Sweden) recorded their lowest number of road fatalities in 2021. And the strongest downward trends (around 20%) are in Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Poland and Lithuania. This is not the case in Latvia, Slovenia and Finland, where road fatalities have been on the rise since 2019.
Speed limit on European roads
The NGO European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) reacted to the announcement of these 2021 figures for road fatalities in Europe. And thus recommends to the EU to reinforce speed limits on European roads. “This is an area where we need to do more at European, national and local level,” said Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of ETSC. And to add: “Our latest report showed great disparities between EU countries in terms of speed enforcement. In urban areas, more cities should follow the example of Brussels and Paris, and move to a default limit of 30 km/h, which will lead to less noisy, safer and less polluted cities. »
Hence the idea of proposing to the EU to establish appropriate speed limits on all types of roads. And this, whether on motorways, country roads or urban centres. The ETSC thus encourages the EU to lower speed limits, which would also lead to the reduction of CO2 emissions.
For its part, the EU will publish the final figures for road fatalities in Europe in autumn 2022. The opportunity to assess the state of road safety in the EU and determine the next steps to reach zero death by 2050.