According to Eurostat data in 2020 the number of people killed in road accidents in the EU decreased by 17% compared to 2019. Although this number has gradually decreased over the last decade, the number of previous reduction in 2020 was largely due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictive measures on passenger transport.
The total number of people killed in road accidents in the EU in 2020 was 18,786, of which 44% were passenger car passengers, 19% pedestrians, 16 % riding motorcycles, 10% on bicycles and 11% on other categories (trucks, buses, mopeds, etc.).
The lowest rates in Sweden, the highest in Romania
Compared to the population of each Member State, the lowest rates of road accident deaths in 2020 were observed in Sweden (20 road accident victims per million inhabitants), in Malta ( 23), in Denmark (27) and in Spain (29), ahead of Ireland and the Netherlands (30 both).
In contrast, the highest rates were recorded in Romania (85 road fatalities per million inhabitants), followed by Latvia (73), Bulgaria (67) and Poland (66).
The European average for 2020 was 42 road accident victims per million inhabitants in the EU in total.
Greece has the first percentage of deaths of motorcyclists, Cyprus the second
Greece had the highest share (32.2%) of motorcyclists among road deaths in the EU, ahead of second Cyprus (29.2%) and Luxembourg (26.9%). The rest of the “two-wheeler” category – mopeds – accounted for 7.5% of all road accident deaths in Slovenia, a slightly larger share than the next highest country (Denmark at 5.2%).
In countries where cycling is widespread, such as the Netherlands or Denmark, cyclists are responsible for a higher share of deaths than in countries where cycling is less common. Cyclists accounted for 30.7% of all road accident deaths in the Netherlands in 2020, followed by Belgium with 17.1%. At the other end of the scale, cyclists accounted for 1.7% of all road accident deaths in Estonia in 2020.
Large number of pedestrians killed in traffic
The number of pedestrians killed in road accidents is described as “relatively high”, as in 2020, 3,612 pedestrians were killed in road accidents in the EU, accounting for 19.2% of all deaths.
However, this share varies considerably between countries, from around 6.8% in the Netherlands (2020 figures) to 35.7% in Romania. It was over or around 30% in Malta (31.3% – figures for 2019), Latvia (30.9%) and Lithuania (30.1%).
Truck accidents cost 1,108 more than 60% of these fatal accidents involved light trucks (maximum mass up to 3.5 t).
Cameras and high fines have saved lives strong>
It is worth noting that the numbers of road accidents are much lower than in the previous decade and this is largely due to traffic cameras and fines for speeding within cities.