22,660 people lost their lives on EU roads in 2019, representing a 3% reduction compared to 2018. Out of the 32 countries monitored by the ETSC Road Safety Performance Index (PIN) programme, 16 reduced road deaths in 2019. The best results were achieved by Luxembourg with a 39% decrease, Sweden with 32%, Estonia with 22% and Switzerland with 20%. Road deaths increased in 12 countries, while progress stagnated in four.
While there has been progress over a longer period, it is not enough to meet the 2020 target. Since 2010, EU countries achieved an overall reduction in road deaths of 24%, which equates to a 2.7% annual average reduction. A 6.7% year-to-year reduction was needed over the 2010-2020 period to reach the 2020 target through constant progress in annual percentage terms. This reduction was not achieved and, with the target now only one year away, it is out of reach. In order to reach the target, the EU27 would need to reduce the number of road deaths by 34.5% between 2019 and 2020. While it is expected that the lockdowns imposed across Europe due to the Covid-19 virus may bring a drop in the number of road deaths in 2020, it seems unlikely that the numbers will fall far enough. Furthermore, even if they did, it could not be considered an achievement but merely the consequence of a disruptive external event, without any guarantee of continuing.
21 PIN countries have prepared or started to prepare national road safety strategies for the upcoming decade. Country efforts will be critical for the implementation of the Safe System approach across the EU and for achieving the 2030 targets. A number of countries are already collecting or planning to start collecting data for the new EU Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) announced by the European Commission in agreement with the Member States. But they must work quickly to finalise defining some of these KPIs, as well as setting minimum requirements on data collection methodologies and introducing outcome targets.
Strong political will and urgent measures are needed in all EU Member States to narrow the gap between the desired and the actual EU progress. Increased traffic law enforcement, treatment of high-risk sites and reduction of motorised traffic, especially in urban areas, are among the measures that can have an immediate, positive road safety effect.