European report confirms the safest and most dangerous countries to be a motorist.
UK casualty figures per-million people
The United Kingdom has some of the safest roads with the lowest fatality figures in Europe, a European Transport Safety Council report revealed. In 2015 – the Road Safety Report Index said - there were 29 deaths per-million people (provisional). This placed the nation fourth behind: Sweden (27), Malta (26) then Norway (23).
Other Member States were less fortunate. In Lithuania, for example, there were 80 deaths per-million inhabitants in 2015. This placed it twenty-eighth on the index. Lithuania was followed by: Croatia (82), Latvia (95), Romania (95) then Bulgaria which came last (98).
The UK scored favourably by other measures too. Over a recent 3 year period, there were 4 deaths per-billion vehicle kilometres travelled which placed it second behind Sweden, that had 3. Norway, Denmark, Switzerland and Ireland shared second spot. The bottom of the table was taken by: Croatia (15), Latvia (16) then Poland (18).
European road fatalities
During 2015, 26,313 motorists were killed on roads in the 32 countries monitored by the Road Safety Report Index. That represented a 1% rise compared to the previous year - the first since 2001 – and fatalities rose in 22 nations. The biggest rises were: Croatia (13%), Finland (14%), Israel (15%) then Cyprus (27%).
On this basis, The European Transport Safety Council was unimpressed by recent fatality figures. It said that “road safety progress has come to a standstill”, for example. It also emphasised there is a target to cut fatalities 50% by 2020 (compared to 2010).
But not every country failed to cut fatalities. In 2015, Norway was the best performer with a 20% reduction compared to 2014. This achievement earned it a Road Safety PIN Award. Norway was followed by: Ireland (14%), Estonia (14%), Latvia (11%) and Lithuania (11%).
Overall, however, hitting the 2020 target is harder following the increase of 2015. Deaths must be reduced at a “much faster pace” - about 9.7% each year between 2016 and 2020 - “to be on track”, the report suggested. The average reduction from 2010 to 2015 was 3.6%.
Police enforcement required to cut fatalities
So what should be done? The European Transport Safety Council said “enforcement of road traffic laws is an essential component in preventing death.” In the UK, this statement follows the fall in the number of full-time, dedicated, traffic officers on the street.
The Council said enforcement is more effective if controls are:
- accompanied by sufficient publicity;
- take place regularly over a long period;
- unpredictable and difficult to avoid;
- combine highly visible and less visible activities;
- focus on traffic offences that have a direct, proven relationship with collisions;
- take place at locations and at times where violations are expected to have the most effect on safety;
- followed by a sanction that is effective, proportionate and dissuasive.