Significant weaknesses in the enforcement of road safety rules are holding back progress on reducing road deaths in Europe, according to a new report.

The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) report examines the state of enforcement of speed limits and seat belt wearing, as well as rules on drink-driving and use of mobile devices at the wheel between 2010 and 2019 across Europe.

“Thousands of lives could be saved in the EU every year if drivers stuck to existing rules on drink-driving, speeding, seat belt wearing and mobile phone use,” said Ellen Townsend, ETSC’s policy director.

“Good enforcement is absolutely critical to this. Without regular, highly visible and well communicated efforts to enforce the law, Europe will not reach its target to halve road deaths and serious injuries by 2030.”

A 2018 survey showed that just 23 percent of Europeans thought they were likely to be checked for drink-driving on a typical journey. Research shows that enforcement is only effective when people have the perception that they risk being caught.

Authors found vast differences between countries on speed enforcement. Sweden has one hundred times more speed cameras per million inhabitants than Czechia.

The report also found that seat belt wearing rates differ substantially across EU countries. Rear seat belt wearing is of particular concern. In Germany 99 percent of rear seat passengers wear a seat belt, whereas in Italy only 11 percent do.

Enforcement of rules on driving with a mobile phone also decreased in 14 countries and increased in only 11.

The full report can be downloaded from the ETSC website.