New Goal for the EU

The number of serious injuries on the road in the EU is five times as high as that of traffic fatalities

Jul 2017
Seriously injured people on the european roads

Nonetheless, Europe’s streets are among the safest in the world: In 2016, 50 people per million inhabitants died in road traffic accidents in the EU compared with 174 worldwide. Overall, 25,500 people were killed in traffic accidents in the EU in 2016. This was 600 fewer than in 2015 and 6,000 fewer than in 2010. This means that the number of traffic fatalities has fallen by 19% over the last six years. However, despite these generally positive developments, it should not be forgotten that year after year there is also a high number of serious injuries.

Since 2015, member states have been recording details of serious injuries on the basis of a new, mutually agreed-upon definition according to medical standards. For this, the EU uses the internationally applicable maximum AIS code (AIS = Abbreviated Injury Scale), which ranges from 0 (uninjured) to 6 (currently untreatable). Scores of 3 and above refer to serious injuries. Based on available EU data, it can be assumed that 135,000 people are seriously injured in road traffic. Therefore, for every traffic fatality in the EU, there are 5.2 people with serious injuries. This largely refers to especially vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, and, in most cases, older people.

In light of this, the EU has set a goal to make further efforts to half the number of those seriously injured in road accidents by 2030. This is in addition to its efforts to lower the number of traffic fatalities by 2020. There is already a wide range of tools that are specifically aimed at implementing the rules of the road more consistently within member states and across borders, increasing training and awareness of road users and improving infrastructure and the safety of vehicles in terms of age and roadworthiness. According to the EU, these tools should be used increasingly.

Equally, member states should work toward developing further measures to ensure medical assistance and quick rehabilitation, as well as social reintegration for road accident victims. Furthermore, member states are being called upon to implement road safety regulations consistently and to support the authorities responsible for this accordingly. This also primarily applies to collaboration and sharing tried-and-tested procedures – especially as far as excessive speeds, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, noncompliance with traffic lights and signs, driver distraction (such as by mobile devices), and not wearing a safety belt are concerned.