3-star or better could save lives on Italy’s rural roads

Upgrading Italy’s extra-urban road network to a 3-star or better level could save 400 lives a year, according to Lucia Pennisi, co-ordinator of the Statistical Office for the Italian Automobile Club (ACI).

Lucia was responding to figures which showed road deaths had declined by 4.2% in 2016 after plateauing for two years. In the same year, though, serious injuries increased by 9% over 2015. Compared with 2010, road deaths have declined by just over 20%.

Although fatalities among motorcyclists and pedestrians decreased by 15% and 5.3% respectively in 2016, the number of cyclists and moped users killed increased by 9.6% and 10.5%.

‘The decline in the fatalities is mainly due to fewer lives being lost on motorways,’ Lucia said. ‘On rural roads, the mortality index is still very high with 4.4 deaths for every road crash compared with 2.9 deaths per 100 road accidents on the motorway network.

‘Around 95% of the motorway network is of a 4 or 5 star standard. Upgrading our extra-urban road network to 3-star or better would save around 400 lives a year.’

She added that “major attention” should be paid to the increase in cyclist deaths and that ACI was watching the development of the CycleRAP programme with interest.