Transport accident fatalities
Assessment made on 01 Jan 2002
ClassificationTransport (Primary theme)
- TERM 009
Policy issue: Reduce the number of transport fatalities and persons injured in transport accidents.
Road fatalities in the EU and ACs fell in the early 1990s, but are now levelling at around 41 000 a year in the EU and 21 000 a year in the ACs.
The number of people killed per capita in road accidents in the EU and ACs are fairly equal, but the number of deaths per number of road vehicles is still on average three times higher in the ACs than in the EU. The severity of road accidents is, however, falling, following gradual implementation of EU vehicle and infrastructure safety standards, changes in legislation on drinking and driving and the implementation and better enforcement of more stringent speed limits. The EU also saw a significant drop in fatality rates over the past decade. As a result the annual number of fatalities decreased significantly compared with 1990 (by 18 % in the ACs and 15 % in the EU). This reduction rate has, however, been slowing down recently, as transport growth offsets safety improvements. Substantial additional efforts are needed to meet the common transport policy target of halving transport fatalities by 2010. In 1999 road accidents still claimed more than 21.000 deaths in the ACs and more than 41.000 in the EU. In the ACs (and in the EU since 1993), the increase in road accidents has offset the decrease in injury rates, resulting in an increase in the number of injuries of 18 %.
Compared with road transport, rail, shipping and air transport are relatively much safer modes of transport. But for these modes, too, several hundreds of fatalities are recorded each year. To avoid these in future, the Commission has proposed various sets of measures (European Commission, 2002c; European Commission, 2002d; European Commission, 2002e).