By Peter Stevenson
CYPRUS had the second biggest decrease in road deaths in the EU in 2012 and it is estimated that through implementing road safety measures throughout the bloc €5 billion has been saved after 2,661 fewer deaths were recorded in 2012 than 2011.
Almost 30,000 people were killed in the EU last year as a consequence of road accidents, according to the European Transport Safety Council’s (ETSC) road safety performance index (PIN).
Around 313,000 people were reported as seriously injured and many more suffered slight injuries.
“Following disappointing results from 2011, the year 2012 brings a welcome contrast as 27 out the 31 countries monitored by the PIN programme registered a drop in the number of road deaths,” an ETSC statement said.
Cyprus, along with Malta, Israel and Denmark had the most notable decreases in fatalities as opposed to Switzerland, Luxemburg, Lithuania and Romania, which saw increases in road deaths.
Cyprus achieved a reduction of 28 per cent in road deaths after seeing an 18 per cent rise in 2011, during which the island had the highest percentage of male road deaths.
“For the EU to be reaching the 2020 target through constant annual progress, another 600 deaths would have had to be saved over the 2011-2012 period,” the statement said.
The prospect of achieving the EU’s 2020 target is seen as achievable by all member states if they continue their sustained efforts and show political will to invest in road safety.
Important safety measures are still to be implemented fully or are being developed.
The European Commission presented its ‘First Milestone towards an injury strategy’ in March 2013 as the first step towards coming up with a strategy.
“ETSC welcomes the adoption by the European Commission of a common EU definition of seriously injured casualties,” the statement added.
Statistics showed that a total of 4,254 people lost their lives in collisions involving heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in 2011, 3,999 in collisions involving light goods vehicles (LGVs) and 722 in collisions involving a bus, coach or trolleybus. These three groups totalled 29 per cent of the overall number of road deaths recorded in 2011.
Since 2001, for the EU as a whole, deaths in collisions involving an HGV and in collisions involving a bus or coach were reduced at a faster rate than the overall number of road deaths.
Because large proportions of those killed in such collisions are non-users of these vehicles, their deaths add another dimension to the cost of transport of goods and passengers, the ETSC said.
Cyprus had the highest percentage of male motorcycle and motorbike fatalities on the road and the highest percentage of female pedestrian deaths last year.
In 2011, out of the 30,400 people killed in the EU27 in road collisions, 7,200 were females and 23,200 males. Women account for 51 per cent of the total EU population but only 24 per cent of road deaths, a percentage that has changed only slightly since 2001.
On average, in the EU, 90 men are killed on the roads each year per million male population, compared with 27. Across Europe, females have a road mortality rate less than one-third that of males.
“Hypothetically, if all EU road users used the roads like females in their respective countries do now, the road mortality rate across the EU would be much less,” the ETSC said.
Statistics indicate men are mainly killed as car drivers and motorcycle riders while women are mainly killed as pedestrians and car passengers.
The ETSC added that there is extensive evidence to show that men have a higher rate of collision, as well as more frequently showing dangerous behaviours. It said it believes member states and the EU should address the number of differences between men and women by recognising them and developing gender-differentiated policies in relevant areas.
The council said that measures to implement no tolerance for alcohol usage by professional drivers and the increase in speed cameras could help in reducing road deaths.