The Impact of Covid-19 Lockdowns on Road Deaths in April 2020 (PIN Briefing)

  • July 9, 2020

In March 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, most European governments put in place unprecedented restrictions on travel and movement including border closures, lockdowns for most of the population, closure of schools, workplaces, shops, leisure and sport facilities. This report assesses the impacts that had on road deaths in Europe during the month of April 2020 – by which time most countries were in lockdown.

Out of 25 EU countries for which data is available, 19 saw a decrease in the number of road deaths in April 2020 compared to the month of April in the previous three years.

In April 2020, 910 people lost their lives in road collisions in the EU25, compared to 1415 on average during the reference period:  505 deaths were prevented.

Such a large reduction of 36% in road deaths is unprecedented. By comparison, road deaths in the EU declined by just 3% between 2018 and 2019, and by 24% over the decade 2010-2019.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on our society.

But the collective response to the crisis has yielded some silver linings, notably in the field of road safety and sustainability.

We have seen in this briefing that there were very substantial reductions in the number of road deaths as a result of the big drops in traffic volumes due to confinement.  When business returns to normal, those numbers could creep back up again.  ETSC is making the case for measures to be taken to ensure a safe and sustainable path out of the crisis.

Note: German data were updated after the initial publication.

Press release.



Photo credits to Charles Van den Broek