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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article6 March 20231 min read

EU road safety figures show that fatalities are still below pre-pandemic levels

The European Commission has published preliminary data on road accident fatalities for 2022. Overall, around 20,600 people were killed in road traffic accidents on the EU's roads that year. This is a 3% increase compared to 2021, when traffic levels were lower due to the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic. However, comparing the 2022 figures to those of the last pre-pandemic year 2019, fatalities were 10% lower.

The EU's aim is to halve the number of road accident deaths by 2030, compared to 2021. Progress has been uneven across the EU's Member States over the last 3 years. The most improved countries are Lithuania and Poland, which have already seen a drop of more than 30%, while Denmark has seen fatalities decline by 23%. On the other hand, elsewhere countries report stable or increasing figures, such as in Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden.

The ranking of countries’ fatality rates per number of inhabitants has seen no significant changes compared to pre-pandemic times, with Sweden (21 deaths per 1 million inhabitants) and Denmark (26/million) performing the best, while Romania (86/million) and Bulgaria (78/million) reporting the highest rates in 2022.

Taking a look at the most affected areas and groups, the 2021 data showed that 52% of road traffic fatalities were in rural areas, 39% in urban areas and 9% on motorways. Overall figures show that 45% of road fatalities are car occupants (drivers and passengers), 19% motorbike and moped users, 18% pedestrians and 9% were cyclists. Notably, men make up three out of four road deaths, overall.

However, the pattern is significantly different in urban areas, where vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and those using powered two-wheelers account for almost 70% of road deaths. The cause of many of these fatal accidents in urban areas are collisions with cars and trucks. The level of road deaths amongst cyclists is a particular concern, as cyclists are the only road user group for which there has not been a significant decline in fatalities over the last decade. The Commission connects this to an ongoing lack of infrastructure of sufficient quality for cyclists.



Publication date
6 March 2023
  • Safety and urban mobility
  • Europe-wide