Research & reports

Title: PIN report: Lockdowns resulted in an unprecedented 36% drop in road deaths in the EU

Organisation: ETSC (European Transport Safety Council)
Date uploaded: 22nd July 2020
Date published/launched: July 2020

This report calls for further research to understand why the number of road deaths across Europe did not declined by the same degree as traffic volume during 'lockdowns' associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report, published by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), reveals EU member states recorded a 36% drop in road deaths in April 2020 – compared to the 2017-19 average.

This is despite heavily reduced traffic levels – as a result of various lockdown restrictions imposed by each country.

For example in Ireland, statistics show in the week of 27 March (when lockdown was announced) traffic volumes reduced by 65-70%. However in April road deaths only declined by 36%, compared to the previous three years.

Meanwhile in the Czech Republic, there was a 5% rise in the number of fatalities during April – despite traffic falling by 65% in urban areas and 70% on motorways.

The ETSC report highlights issues such as speeding and higher numbers of vulnerable road users – as well as changes to enforcement levels.

It says evidence gathered from more than 10 countries ‘strongly suggests’ that speeding may have been a major factor in increased collision severity and therefore a higher risk of death. ETSC is calling for more research to be carried out on the issue.

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