World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims: Fewer than half as many fatalities as 20 years ago
Sunday, 20 November 2016
What will the impact be of driver-less cars?
Last year, 26 100 people died in road accidents in the European Union (EU). While this represented a small increase compared with 2014 (+0.5%), the trend over the last 20 years has been a fall in the number of road traffic victims in the EU.
Compared with 1995, the number of road fatalities has been reduced by almost 38 000 persons (-59.2%), from nearly 64 000 to slightly over 26 000 in 2015. For comparison, in 2015, 283 people were killed in air accidents on EU territory and 963 in rail accidents.
The figures were published last week (18 November) by Eurostat, the statistics office, on the occasion of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. The Day is commemorated on the third Sunday of November each year to remember the many millions killed and injured on the world’s roads, together with their families, friends and many others who are also affected.
Compared with the population of each Member State, the lowest rates of road fatalities in 2015 were observed in Malta (2.6 road traffic victims reported in the country per 100 000 inhabitants), Sweden (2.7) and the United Kingdom (2.8), ahead of Denmark and the Netherlands (both 3.1), Ireland and Spain (both 3.6).
At the opposite end of the scale, the highest rates were recorded in Bulgaria (9.8 road traffic victims in the country per 100 000 inhabitants), Latvia and Romania (both 9.5), followed by Lithuania (8.3), Croatia (8.2), Poland (7.7) and Greece (7.4). In 2015, there were in total 5.1 road traffic victims per 100 000 inhabitants in the EU as a whole.
Compared with 2014, the number of road traffic victims in 2015 rose in a majority of EU Member States. At EU level, the number of road traffic victims remained almost stable, having slightly increased from nearly 26 000 in 2014 to around 26 100 in 2015. Over a longer time period however, the trend is consistent with all Member States recording notable decreases compared with 1995.
For the near future, a significant reduction in road traffic incidents is expected by the introduction of automated (self-driving) cars equipped with advanced cameras and control systems. By seeing and recognizing obstacles, other vehicles and pedestrians on the road, automated cars can avoid accidents before happening.