Romania and Bulgaria report the highest number of victims in road accidents in the EU in relation to the size of the population, according to data from the European Commission.
The countries’ overall ranking by number of deaths has not changed significantly compared to the period before the pandemic – in 2022, the roads were safest in Sweden and Denmark (21 and 26 deaths per one million inhabitants respectively), while the number of traffic accident victims is highest in Romania and Bulgaria (86 and 78 per one million inhabitants).
The average in the EU is 46 deaths per million inhabitants.
At the same time, Bulgaria reports a decrease in the number of victims on the roads in recent years. The reduction between 2017 and 2019 in the country was an average of 17 percent, compared to an average of 11 percent for the EU.
Last year around 20,600 people died in road traffic accidents in the EU. Compared to 2021, this is a 3% increase and is due to traffic levels recovering since the pandemic.
The European Commission emphasizes that much of what has been achieved during the covid-19 period (including the 17% reduction seen in 2020 compared to 2019) has not been lost. Compared to pre-pandemic 2019, deaths were 2,000 fewer (-10%).
The EU and the UN have a goal of halving the number of road deaths by 2030.
Progress is very uneven between Member States. The largest decrease (over 30%) was reported by Lithuania and Poland, followed by Denmark with 23%.
On the other hand, the number of traffic fatalities in countries such as Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden has been largely unchanged or increased over the past three years.
Most affected groups
Available EU-wide data for 2021 (no detailed data yet for 2022) show that 52% of road deaths occurred on non-urban roads, 39% on urban roads and 9% on motorways.
In three out of four traffic fatalities, the deceased was a man (78%).
A total of 45% of all those killed on the roads traveled by car (driver and passenger), 18% were pedestrians, 19% used two-wheeled motor vehicles (motorcycles and mopeds) and 9% were cyclists.
However, the situation is very different on roads in populated areas: almost 70% of the total number of deaths are caused by vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists and users of two-wheeled motor vehicles).
In urban areas, traffic deaths are mostly due to car and truck crashes.
The trend towards an increase in the number of cyclists killed on EU roads is a serious problem. This is the only road user group where the last decade has not seen a significant reduction in the number of deaths.
Preliminary data from France, for example, shows that in 2022, compared to 2019, the number of dead cyclists increased by 30%.
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