Road Accident Data in the Enlarged European Union

  • April 7, 2006

Learning from each other

This Review examines the current situation in the 25 countries of the European Union in relation to data on road safety and draws up a concrete set of actions for improving these data, paying particular attention to the SEC Belt countries (Southern and New EU Member States). The Review covers all aspects, from data collection, gathering and entry into databases, to their processing, analysis and dissemination of results.

The objective of this Review is to evaluate existing methods for accident data collection and analysis, in order to identify the potential for road accident investigation at the national scale in the European countries. This evaluation of the national potential for accident investigation can help to propose guidelines for improved procedures of road accident data collection and analysis. At the same time, it will assist with accident research at European level.

The starting point of this Review is the acknowledgement of the fact that the levels of motorisation and road safety and the gathering of accident data are not uniform throughout Europe. Thus, any analysis or comparison at European level should take  account of these level and data differences among European countries in order to reach reliable conclusions. In the Review, an indicative clustering of the 25 Member States of the European Union has been attempted, based on an earlier comparison of the road safety levels of the 25 countries up to 2001 (ETSC, 2003). From the investigation carried out within this Working Party, it also emerges that the New Member States, most of the Southern States, as well as Belgium and France (up to 2003) seem to have higher car occupant death rate per passenger car-kilometres than the Northern countries, indicating lower levels of road safety. Thus, a first clustering might divide the European countries between North-Western States on the one side and Southern and New Eastern Countries (SEC Belt countries) of the EU on the other side.

Furthermore, New and Southern countries do not make up a uniform group and have been subdivided. Consequently, three groups of EU countries were considered: the “Non SEC Belt countries” (“North-Western countries” hereafter), the “Old SEC Belt countries” (“Southern countries” hereafter) and the “New SEC Belt countries” (“New countries” hereafter). The level of road safety is not uniform within each group, so the groups should be viewed simply as broad clusters for the purposes of this Review.

A three-step methodology is adopted in this Report. Firstly, basic road safety data regarding the 25 European countries are analysed and compared. Secondly, the quality of available data is analysed, exploiting the results of a questionnaire-based survey in which experts from 22 European countries participated. Finally, the findings of this survey are summarised and recommendations for improving the existing situation are formulated.