The long-term evolution, between 1991 and 2017, of three indicators – fatalities, accidents and injured people – shows that the EU has witnessed substantial improvements in terms of road safety, especially since 2000. While the number of injured people culminated at over 2 million in 2001, the figure steadily declined (with an exception for 2014 onwards) to over 1.4 million injured in 2017. In terms of fatalities, the downward trend was more constant, from 76 647 fatalities in 1991 to 54 960 in 2001 and 25 261 in 2017 (with slight exceptions, e.g. in 2014 and 2015). The evolution in terms of accidents followed a pattern somewhat similar to that of people injured, peaking at around 1.5 million in 2000, down to 1.08 million in 2017. The combined evolution of the three indicators shows that the decrease in road deaths was faster than the decrease in accidents and people injured. Over a shorter period, between 2001 and 2010, the number of deaths on EU roads decreased by 43 % and by around 20 % since 2010.
Nevertheless, the most recent figures show that progress in reducing the fatality rate are stagnating, and that specific road user (e.g. pedestrians and cyclists) or demographic groups (e.g. elderly road users) are not witnessing the same improvements as the rest of the population (see next section).
In 2017, the number who lost their lives on EU roads was close to 400 less than in 2016, and more than 6 200 less than in 2010. While some Member States continue to make progress in terms of road safety and road fatalities, and rates at EU level show a reduction of around 2 % for the second year in a row, reaching the EU objective of halving road fatalities between 2010 and 2020 may prove difficult.