Written by Ariane Debyser ,
Graphics by Giulio Sabati,
Between 1991 and 2014, and especially after 2000, the EU witnessed substantial improvements in terms of road safety, whether measured in terms of fatalities, accidents or injuries. Over a shorter period, between 2001 and 2010, the number of deaths on EU roads decreased by 43 %, and by a further 17 % since 2010.
The most recent figures, however, show that progress in reducing the fatality rate has slowed and that specific road users or demographic groups are not witnessing the same improvements as the rest of the population.
Road safety is a shared competence, implying that many measures are primarily dealt with by Member States. However, the EU, in line with Article 91(c) TFEU, has significantly developed the acquis in this area, with the Commission adopting several policy frameworks on road safety. In 2003, the EU set itself a target in terms of reducing road fatalities, and regularly monitors progress towards this goal. In its July 2010 communication ‘Towards a European road safety area: policy orientations on road safety 2011-2020’, the Commission proposed to continue aiming for a target to halve the overall number of road deaths in the EU by 2020, starting from 2010. The EU is also looking at innovations which have a strong safety potential.
The European Parliament has adopted numerous resolutions regarding or covering road safety, calling notably for a fully fledged strategy for people sustaining serious injury and for more detailed and measurable targets.
Read the complete briefing on ‘Road safety in the EU‘ in PDF.