This week (April 10), the European Commission published data showing that deaths on EU roads fell by just 2% last year, following a similar decrease in 2016 and a 1% increase in 2015.
According to a European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) analysis, the EU target of cutting deaths by half between 2010 and 2020 is now very unlikely to be reached. Currently, there is still an average of 500 people per week still dying on EU roads. The EU28 collectively reduced the number of road deaths by 20% over the period 2010-2017, far less than the 38% cut needed to stay on course to meet the 2020 target.
Commenting on the publication of the latest figures, Antonio Avenoso, executive director of the ETSC, said, “For four years in a row, the European Commission has announced poor results on road safety. And for four years in a row, there has been almost no new EU action on concrete policy measures to combat the scourge of road deaths and injury. The time for action is long overdue.
“The ETSC is eagerly awaiting for the European Commission to come forward with a package of long-awaited road safety legislation. We are calling for safer vehicle standards such as mandatory fitment of automated emergency braking (AEB) and intelligent speed assistance (ISA); better infrastructure safety rules and a solid framework for the safe roll-out of automated driving within weeks not months. It’s also time to see a new long-term plan for the next decade, with a clear strategy for halving the number of people that die or are seriously injured on our roads every week.”
Member states also have a crucial role to play in improving road safety, especially with measures that can be implemented in the short term, such as increasing levels of enforcement. Estonia and Slovenia are examples of EU member states that have cut deaths rapidly in recent years.