EU road casualty statistics for 2020

Organisation: European Commission
Date of Publication: April 2021
Date Uploaded: 4 May 2021

These preliminary figures published by the European Commission show an estimated 18,800 people were killed on EU roads last year, an unprecedented annual fall of 17%. This means almost 4,000 fewer people lost their lives compared to 2019.

The reduction was far from uniform – with the largest decreases (of 20% or more) occurring in Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Hungary, Malta and Slovenia.

In contrast, five member states (Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg and Finland) recorded an increase in fatalities, although the Commission says the figures in small countries tend to fluctuate from year to year.

The Commission adds that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the figures is hard to measure. It says lower traffic volumes, as the result of the pandemic, had a ‘clear, though unmeasurable’, impact on the number of road fatalities.

However, it points to preliminary data in the US which shows that fatalities spiked in 2020 in spite of lower traffic volumes – as well as evidence from some EU countries pointing to an increase in risk-taking behaviour, in particular speeding, during lockdown periods.

By way of comparison, the UK Government is yet to publish data for the whole of 2020, but figures for the first half of the year show an estimated 670 people were killed in reported road collisions – a decrease of 21% compared to the equivalent period in 2019 (838).

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