Road deaths in the EU remain below pre-pandemic level in 2021
Deaths due to traffic accidents in the countries of the European Union (EU) amounted to 19,800 in 2021, an increase of 1,000 deaths (5%) compared to 2020, but which still represents almost 3,000 cases (13 %) less than in 2019, the year before the covid pandemic, according to preliminary data from the European Commission published this Monday.
The report indicates that there was an increase from the previous period , although it recalls that the comparisons with 2020 are "strongly influenced" by the traffic patterns of each country during confinements and mobility restrictions, which led to the number of fatalities decreased by 17% from 2019.
The global classification of mortality rates has not changed significantly, according to the study, which concludes that the community average in 2021 was 44 deaths per million inhabitants, with Sweden leading the most reliable roads -18 deaths per million- and with Romania at the bottom on less safe roads -93 deaths per million-.
Relative to pre-pandemic levels , fatalities fell by 13% from 2019 to 2021 in the 27 as a whole, including declines of more than 20% in Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Poland and Lithuania.
The report also emphasizes that nine Member States recorded their lowest number of deaths in the entire historical series last year: Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Cyprus, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal and Sweden.
However, Latvia, Slovenia and Finland experienced increases in the number of deaths due to road accidents during the last two years, according to preliminary data from the Commission.
MOST AFFECTED GROUPS
Men accounted for three out of four road deaths (77%) in 2021 and the elderly - over 65 - accounted for more than a quarter (28%) of all deaths.
However, the study warns that, in relative terms, young people were the group with the most deaths from traffic accidents : 12% of fatalities were between 18 and 24 years old, when this age group barely makes up 7% of the European population.
By type of victim, car occupants -both drivers and passengers- accounted for 43% of all deaths, while pedestrians and users of two-wheeled vehicles -motorcycles and mopeds- accounted for 20% and 18% , respectively, far from the number of deceased cyclists, located at 10%.
Geographically, 52% of deaths occurred on rural roads, compared to 40% in urban areas and 8% on highways, according to the report, which stresses that accident patterns are "very different" in the city. , where 70% of deaths are vulnerable individuals on public roads.
In this sense, pedestrians (37%) constituted the majority of victims in urban areas, followed by users of two-wheelers (18%) and an increasing number of cyclists (14%), points out the study.
In a statement released this Monday , the Community Executive applauded that in the last decade the Twenty-seven have experienced a 36% drop in road deaths and, along the same lines, reiterated its objective of reducing the number by half for the exercise of 2030 .
In this regard, the European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Valean, asked the member countries that, as "normality" in traffic is restored, they "ensure" that there is no return to pre-pandemic levels.
"We will strive with funding, legislation and outreach to help deliver a safe system of infrastructure, vehicles, roads and post-crash care . But this is a shared responsibility with the EU states, industry and road users. Every death and serious injury on our roadways is preventable," he said.
The 2021 figures are based on preliminary data and may be subject to minor changes when the final results are published in the fall of 2022, according to the report.