In the last 30 years, Europe’s roads have become far safer despite a three-fold increase in traffic. EU road fatalities have been reduced by more than half since 2001, from 54,900 just after the turn of the century to 24,585 in 2019.
Road safety is a shared societal responsibility. This is underlined by the fact that 90% of all accidents are caused by driver error, such as poor anticipation, inappropriate reaction to a hazard and violation of road traffic laws. Combining further improvements in vehicle technology with improved driver training, better road design, and enforcement of existing traffic regulations promise the greatest benefits to society.
The great challenge for the EU is to continue on the path of reducing the number of road fatalities. To this end policy makers need to ensure that all relevant stakeholders play their role, as part of the integrated approach to safety. Policy makers also need to create the right environment for improving road safety, to propose the introduction of the right technologies, and to ensure the enforceability of existing rules.