An estimated 19,800 people were killed in road crashes in the EU last year, a rise of 1,000 deaths from 2020, according to new preliminary figures from the European Commission.

However, the figure still represents almost 3,000 fewer deaths compared to the pre-pandemic period in 2019.

The overall target is to halve the number of deaths by 2030. EU-wide, the last decade saw a fall of 36 percent.

“As traffic levels return to normality, we must ensure that we don’t return to pre-pandemic numbers of deaths on our roads,” said Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean.

“At the EU level we will endeavour through financing, legislation and outreach to help deliver the ‘safe system’ of safer infrastructure, safer vehicles, safer road use and better post-crash care. But this is a shared responsibility with Member States, the industry and road users. Every death and serious injury on our roads is avoidable.”

The overall ranking of countries’ fatality rates did not change significantly, with the safest roads being found in Sweden, while Romania reported the highest rate in 2021.

Based on preliminary figures, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Cyprus, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal, and Sweden registered their lowest ever number of road fatalities in 2021.