In Europe, during 2022 20,640 people died in a road crashes. While following a long-term downward trend (-9% from pre-pandemic levels), it does mark a 4% increase when compared to 2021 data and demonstrates the continued need for intervention in order to achieve the EU target of halving the road death numbers by 2030.
New thematic report
Impairment due to alcohol and/or drugs is a major cause of motor vehicle crashes world-wide, and it is estimated around 25% of all road deaths in the EU are alcohol-related. The European Road Safety Observatory have published a new thematic report focusing on driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs (otherwise known as 'impaired driving'). The report details the extent of the problem, crash risk curves associated with alcohol and drug consumption, and relevant rules and regulations.
Both alcohol and drugs significantly affect drivers' reaction time, tracking ability, speed management, vision and attention, resulting in increased crash risk. In the EU, the problem of drink-driving, under these reduced capabilities, remains prevalent as an estimated 1.5 to 2% of kilometres travelled are driven with an illegal blood alcohol content (BAC). As a result, around one quarter of all road deaths in Member States are alcohol-related. The strong correlation between BAC and crash risk is highlighted in the report. It states that, with a BAC of just 0.5g/L, the risk of crashing is expected to be about 1.4 times higher than that of a sober driver; at 1.0g/L, the risk increases to almost 5 times higher, and at 1.5g/L, the risk is significant, at up to 20 times higher.
The report not only outlines the current problems associated with impaired driving but also presents potential counter measures and strategies. The proposed measures include health policies to decrease alcohol consumption, legislation with enhanced police enforcement, and promoting the use of alternative means of transport.
This thematic publication forms part of the Commission's efforts to promote safe mobility and achieve the overall target to halve the number of road deaths and serious injuries in the EU by 2030.
European Excellence in Road Safety Awards
Another key ongoing initiative contributing to this target is the annual European Excellence in Road Safety Awards.
This year's awards ceremony took place on Thursday 19 October. Similar to previous years, it aimed to provide a platform for organisations, including local authorities, to showcase their innovative initiatives and achievements toward improving road safety across Europe.
The award categories, unique to the 2023 event, celebrated projects related to: fitness to drive, reduced mobility, data, e-commerce, and urban road safety. The overall 2023 winners were:
- Zavarovalnica Triglav and AMZS (Slovenia) – Refreshing rides for seniors with instructor
- VZW Symfoon (Belgium) – for their obstacle-free pavements with Team Trottoir
- Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) (Austria) - for their Mobility Observation Box (MOB)
- An Post (Ireland) – for their Driving towards Zero campaign
- Municipality of Gdańsk (Poland) – for their traffic calming activities and campaigns
Specifcally, the winner of the Urban Mobility Award this year was the Municipality of Gdansk, with it's project ‘Gdańsk Traffic Calming Programme supporting sustainable urban mobility’. The initiative was selected as a great example of Poland’s approach to strengthening its road safety activities, involving citizen participation as well as a long-term plan.
Between 2000 and 2009, around 30 people lost their lives on Gdańsk's roads. In 2010 the city decided to develop the Gdańsk Traffic Calming Programme to help achieve Vision Zero by 2030. The programme has a specific focus on improving coexistence between pedestrians, cyclists and drivers and the safety of road users in vulnerable situations. One important step in this process was the implementation of 30km/h as the standard speed throughout the city. Infrastructure changes were also introduced, such as elevated crossings, mini roundabouts, and one-way streets; and pedestrian crossings were replaced with footbridges and tunnels, where possible. The also city developed multiple safety education activities and campaigns for children. As a result of these actions, between 2009 and 2022, the city witnessed decreases of 76% in the number of fatalities, 47% in the number of injuries and 44% in the number of road crashes. There were also 62% fewer reported crashes involving pedestrians, and in 2022 no fatalities on roads.
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