Challenges and Opportunities

Between 2001 and 2010, the number of road deaths in the EU decreased by 43%, and between 2010 and 2018 by a further  21%. Recent data for 2019-2020 shows a 17% decrease in road deaths. However, in 2020, there were still 42 road deaths per million inhabitants of the EU (Source: ETSC). This is an unacceptable and unnecessary human and social price to pay for mobility. The yearly cost of road crashes in the EU has been estimated in a new study to be around EUR 280 billion, equivalent to about 2% of GDP5. Almost half of road victims are vulnerable road users, 25 % were on two-wheels (14 % motorcyclists, 8 % cyclists and 3 % moped riders) and 21 % were pedestrians. The breakdown of fatalities also shows that 8 % occurred on motorways, 37 % in urban areas and 55 % on rural roads. Road deaths and injuries are predictable and preventable. Head-on fatalities occur on undivided roads. Run-off road fatalities occur where the roadsides are unforgiving. Pedestrian fatalities occur where sidewalks are missing, safe crossing facilities don’t exist or speeds are inappropriate.

EU and Global Alignment

In May 2018, within the context of the third and last ‘mobility package’, the Commission presented a common framework for road safety for the 2021-2030 period, recalling the EU’s long-term goal of moving as close as possible to zero fatalities in road transport by 2050 (‘Vision Zero’).

As part of the third ‘Europe on the Move’ package, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive amending Directive 2008/96/EC on road infrastructure safety management, whose general objective is to reduce both fatalities and serious injuries by improving the safety performance of road infrastructure.

UN Member States have agreed on 12 Global Road Safety Performance Targets to drive action across the world. 

Targets 3 and 4 include ensuring all new roads are built to a 3-star or better standard for all road users (Goal 3), and more than 75% of travel is on the equivalent of 3-star or better roads for all road users by 2030 (Goal 4). 

Achieving >75% of travel on 3-star or better roads by 2030 will save an estimated 467,000 lives every year and 100 million lives and serious injuries over the 20-year life of the treatments.