The number of car occupants killed on EU roads has more than halved in a decade – but further moves must be made to cut it further, says a new report.
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) found that around 240,000 people were killed in collisions between 2001 and 2012, with annual numbers falling from 27,700 in 2001 to 12,345 in 2012. The body put the cut down to increased traffic offence enforcement, improved driver and passenger protection and, to a lesser extent, better infrastructure.
However, while the panel praised the reduction, it revealed that car occupant deaths still represented nearly half of road fatalities between 2010 and 2012. The number of deaths decreased across all countries, with Spain and Latvia showing the biggest reductions.
The ETSC also praised progress made by Great Britain, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands – now considered the safest countries for car occupant deaths per billion vehicle km travelled (see above). But languishing at the other end of the table were Poland, Latvia and the Czech Republic.
Antonio Avenoso, executive director of ETSC, said: “While huge progress has been made in cutting the number of people killed, it’s wrong that 12,000 die every year for mostly avoidable reasons.”
The report claimed that if all cars had belt reminders fitted to all seats, 900 more people would be saved every year. Zero tolerance on drink-driving would save 5,600 deaths annually, and a cut in the speed limit by 1km/h a further 1,300. It also suggested a tax incentive for the purchase and use of five-star Euro NCAP cars and models equipped with Intelligent Speed Assistance, alcohol interlocks and seatbelt reminders.
“Simple measures such as belt reminders in front and rear passenger seats, better enforcement of speed limits plus measures to prevent repeat drink-drivers from getting behind the wheel could put the EU’s target of halving the number of road deaths by 2020 firmly within reach,” Avenoso added.