Ranking EU progress on road safety

17th Road safety performance index (PIN) report
Carson, J.; Jost, G.; Meinero, M.

There were 20,678 deaths on EU roads in 2022, a collective increase of 4% compared to 2021.

Out of the 32 countries monitored by the PIN programme, only 13 registered a decrease in road deaths in 2022, compared to 2021. Slovenia was ranked first with a 25% reduction, followed by Latvia with 23% and Lithuania and Cyprus with 18%.

Road deaths increased in 19 PIN countries between 2021 and 2022.

The EU has set a target to halve the number of road deaths by 2030, based on their level in 2019. Road deaths in the EU27 in 2022 were reduced collectively by 9% compared to 2019. However, considering an average annual decrease of 6.1% is needed to make progress towards the 2030 target, it should have been a 17.2% decrease instead.
Looking back over the last ten years, the overall progress in reducing road deaths on EU roads was good in 2012 and 2013, with an 8% decrease. But the positive start was followed by six years of stagnation with only a 6% reduction over the 2014-2019 period.

In 2020 there was an exceptional drop of 17% compared to 2019. However, this result was strongly related to travel restrictions across Europe due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 2021 also saw a consistent drop of 13% with respect to 2019, but the number of road deaths increased by 5% with respect to 2020, influenced by a gradual relaxation of travel restrictions and lockdown requirements across Europe.

39,553 road deaths have been prevented in the EU over the period 2013-2022 compared with the number that would have been recorded if each Member State had continued to record the same number each year as in 2012. 40,987 more lives could have been saved if the annual reduction of 6.7% needed to reach the EU 50% reduction target in 10 years, had been reached.

The total value of the human losses avoided by reductions in road deaths in the EU27 for 2022 compared to 2012 is estimated at approximately €15 billion, and the value of the reductions in the years 2013-2022 taken together compared with 2012 is about €104 billion.

If the EU had reduced deaths at a constant annual rate of progress of 6.7%, the greater reductions in deaths in the years 2012-2021 would have increased the valuation of the benefit to society by about €108 billion to about €212 billion over those years.

The progress in reducing serious road traffic injuries over the last decade in the EU was poor, especially in comparison with the reduction in road deaths. There has been only a 14% reduction over the period 2012-2022. The exact number of people seriously injured in road collisions is not yet known in all EU countries.

Mortality in the PIN countries differs by a factor of almost four between the groups of countries with the highest and the lowest mortality. Norway is the safest PIN country for road users with 21 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2022. Sweden follows Norway with 22 deaths per million inhabitants. In the UK, Denmark, Switzerland, Ireland, Germany and Finland, road mortality is below 35 deaths per million inhabitants. In the EU27, the overall level of road mortality was 46 deaths per million inhabitants in 2022 compared to 54 per million in 2012.The highest mortality is in Romania and Serbia with 86 and 83 road deaths per million inhabitants respectively. In two countries – Malta and the Netherlands – road mortality is higher in 2022 than in 2012.

The EU Road Safety Policy Framework 2021-2030 introduced eight Key Performance Indicators to measure the overall safety performance of EU Member States and measures on how to reach the strategy’s targets. The KPIs were further detailed in the EU Strategic Action Plan on Road Safety.

There is some way to go in terms of developing EU road safety KPIs, collecting the data and setting KPI targets. The KPI on safety belts seems the most widely collected, with 30 PIN countries reporting they collect or plan to collect data in the upcoming year for this KPI. Likewise, KPIs for speed compliance and the use of protective equipment are or soon will be widely used. The infrastructure, post-crash care and vehicle safety KPIs seem the least well-advanced.

On 1 March, 2023, the European Commission published proposals for three pieces of road safety legislation: the revision of the EU driving licence directive, the revision of the cross-border enforcement (CBE) directive and a proposal for a new EU directive on driving disqualifications. These proposals were severely delayed, but it is hoped that agreement can still be reached before the end of the current EU political mandate (2019-2024) to ensure the lifesaving potential is maximised within the EU Road Safety Policy Framework 2021-2030 timeframe. It should be noted that not all elements of the proposed package will improve road safety.

Country efforts will be critical across Europe for the implementation of the Safe System approach and in the EU for achieving the 2030 targets. Of the 32 PIN countries, 20 have reported having a new road safety strategy in place, and in a further five, the plans are under development.

Poland is the winner of the 2023 ETSC PIN Award, having cut road deaths by 47% over the period 2012-2022.

20240004 ST
Gepubliceerd door
European Transport Safety Council ETSC, Brussels

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