Are Europe’s Roads Safe? Progress in minimizing roadside deaths slows in 2011

Last week the European Commission met to discuss the progress in their goal to decrease the number of road deaths in Europe. As part of the EU Road Safety Action Plan 2011-2020, the European Commission aims to decrease the number of annual road deaths by 50%.

In the past decade, Europe made a great deal of progress in limiting the number of road fatalities. Under the Road Safety Action Plan 2001-2010, road related deaths were cut by 45%.

However, road deaths are still a major problem throughout Europe. In his address, Siim Kallas, EC Vice President in charge of transport, stated that 85 people still die on the road in Europe every day. According to new data released by the EC, in the last year the decrease in road deaths was only by 2%, which is the slowest decline in a decade.

In the unusual cases of Germany and Sweden, who have had high safety records in the past, there have actually been increases in road deaths in the last year. The road death toll increased in Germany by a whopping 10%. Other countries such as Poland and Belgium also had increased road related deaths.

To make the number of road deaths decrease more exponentially, Kallas and the EC are focusing on avoiding motorcycle fatalities in 2012. Even as the number of other road deaths fell in the last decade, there has yet to be a decrease in motorcycle deaths.

Aside from taking a more thorough look at motorcyclist deaths, some other initiatives of the EU Road Safety Action Plan 2011-2020 include developing more safety measures for vehicles, building safer roads, strengthening the licensing and training procedures for new drivers, and enforcing regulations more strictly.

While it will be difficult to overcome the dangers leading to road deaths, the EC’s commitment to the goal of a 50% reduction in the roadside death toll has the potential to make the streets of Europe much safer for everyone. To personally help the effort to avoid roadside deaths, please remember to stay smart and be safe on the road!


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