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.
Across the EU Member States, the highest numbers of road traffic victims in 2015 were registered in France (3 461), Germany (3 459) and Italy (3 428), followed by Poland (2 938).
This information, largely extracted from the European Commission CARE database, is published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, on the occasion of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, commemorated on the third Sunday of November each year.
Number of road fatalities relative to the population lowest in Malta, Sweden and the United Kingdom, highest in Bulgaria, Latvia and Romania
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.
Significant long-term downward trends in every EU Member State
Compared with 2014, the number of road traffic victims in 2015 rose in a majority of EU Member States, with the highest increase being observed in Cyprus (+26.7%), followed by Finland (+16.2%), Croatia (+13.0%), Austria (+11.4%), the Netherlands (+11.3%), Slovenia (+11.1%) and Malta (+10.0%). In contrast, the most remarkable falls were observed in Estonia (-14.1%), Ireland (-14.0%), Latvia (-11.3%), Lithuania (-9.4%), Poland (-8.2%) as well as Portugal (-7.1%). 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. In particular, the number of road traffic victims has been cut by more than two-thirds in Estonia (from 332 in 1995 to 67 in 2015, or -79.8%), Portugal (-78.1%), Latvia (-71.5%), Slovenia (-71.1%), Spain (-70.6%), Denmark (-69.4%) and Greece (-66.6%). In contrast, the number of road fatalities has been reduced by less than 40% in Malta (from 14 in 1995 to 11 in 2015, or -21.4%), Romania (-33.5%) and Finland (-39.7%). Overall in the EU, the number of road traffic victims has more than halved (-59.2%) between 1995 and 2015.