The European Commission has published figures for road deaths in the 27 EU Member States in 2021, showing that 19 800 people were killed in a road crash last year. This represents an increase of 5% compared to 2020 – the year of Covid-19 lockdowns, and a 13% reduction compared to 2019, the last year before the pandemic.
Commenting on the new figures, Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) said:
“Covid-19 has changed some working practices for good, and that may have led to a one-off bonus for road safety, as some people continue to work from home and travel less. However, deaths are creeping back up, and will continue to do so without continued efforts to make our roads safer.”
“A tragedy in Belgium last week brought into sharp focus the devastating effects of failing to restrain speed. This is an area where we need to see more effort at European, national and local level.”
“Our latest report showed vast differences between EU countries on speed enforcement. Sweden has 100 times more speed cameras per million inhabitants than Czechia. Without highly visible and regular enforcement, some drivers will continue to speed with impunity and devastate lives.”
“In urban areas, more towns and cities should follow the example of Brussels and Paris, and switch to a default limit of 30 km/h which will lead to calmer, quieter, safer and less polluted cities that encourage people to move around in healthier ways.”
“We would like to see a recommendation from the European Commission on appropriate speed limits on motorways, rural roads and urban areas. Reduced speeds would reduce the carnage on our roads, cut emissions and reduce our dependence on Russian oil. It’s a policy that would bring only benefits.”