Latest statistics have shown an estimated 18,800 people lost their lives on European Union (EU) roads in 2020, almost 4,000 fewer than the previous year.

Preliminary figures, published by the European Commission, show 18 Member States registered their lowest ever number of road fatalities in 2020. EU-wide, deaths fell by an average of 17 percent compared to 2019 with the largest decreases of 20 percent or more occurring in Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Hungary, Malta and Slovenia.

Lower traffic volumes, as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, impacted on the number of road fatalities.

Over the previous decade, between 2010 and 2020, the number of road deaths dropped by 36 percent. This was short of the target of 50 pe cent fewer deaths that had been set by the EU for the decade. However, with 42 road deaths per one million inhabitants, the EU remains the continent with the safest roads in the world. As a comparison, the world average lies at more than 180.

“With almost 4,000 fewer deaths on EU roads in 2020, compared to 2019, our roads remain the safest in the world,” said Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean.

“Still, we are behind our target for the last decade and joint action is needed to prevent a return to pre-COVID levels.”

The latest figures have been released to coincide with the EU Road Safety Results Conference, which brings together policymakers, civil society and road safety practitioners to assess the state of play of road safety in the EU and how best to take the next steps towards Vision Zero – an ambitious road safety plan to reach zero road deaths by 2050.