UK roads are safest in Europe
Per million inhabitants, 96 people die on Romanian roads each month, making it the worst EU member state in terms of road safety. The UK, on the other hand, only has 28 traffic-related casualties each month.
These numbers were part of a survey conducted by VIAS Institute, the Belgian road safety institute, based on data from the European Commission.
|Number of road fatalities in EU member states|
Most countries have seen their numbers improve steadily since the start of the century, though road fatalities did go up in Sweden and the Netherlands in the last five years.
Results for motorway traffic were quite different, with Belgium coming in last with 57 road fatalities per 1,000km of motorway. Best in class in this category is Cyprus with 3.7.
|Number of road fatalities per 1,000km of motorway|
It is unclear why the numbers for Belgium are on par with those of countries with less stringent standards in terms of road infrastructure and, perhaps, traffic rules enforcement. VIAS Institute points out that taking into account traffic density in Belgium still doesn’t explain its weak score.
Somewhat surprisingly, bike nations Denmark and the Netherlands have a higher cyclist mortality than the European average. Per million inhabitants, 6 Dutch cyclists and 5 Danish cyclists die each month whereas the European average is 4. The higher number of cyclists in both countries probably explains the higher mortality at least partially.
|Cyclist mortality per million inhabitants per month|
Road safety policy
The VIAS Institute survey has one obvious conclusion: countries with clear, well-balanced road safety policies that invest in road infrastructure and that have a high risk of catching bad drivers, do much better than countries that don’t.
Nevertheless, other factors come into play, like alcohol and drug use and drink driving, which is remarkably common in various countries across the continent.