The death toll from road accidents reduced in Cyprus during 2016 by 19.3 per cent, according to the 11th Road Safety Performance Index Report of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC). This was the second biggest reduction in the EU.
More specifically 46 road deaths were reported, 11 fewer than 2015. The reduction followed an increase of 26.7 per cent in 2015. With last year`s reduction, Cyprus went back from the 20th to the 13th place it ranked in 2014 among the EU countries, with regard to the road traffic death rate.
According to the report, 2016 was the third consecutive poor year for road safety: 25,670 people lost their lives on EU roads compared to 26,200 the previous year – a 2 per cent decrease. But this followed a 1 per cent increase in 2015 and stagnation in 2014. Out of the 32 countries monitored by the PIN Programme, 15 countries registered a drop in the number of road deaths last year.
“The best results were achieved in Lithuania with a 22 per cent reduction, Cyprus with 19 per cent, the Czech Republic with 17 per cent, Latvia with 16 per cent and Switzerland with 15 per cent. As many as 15 countries saw an increase while progress stood still in two countries,” the report said.
It noted that since 2010 road deaths in the EU28 were cut by 19 per cent, equivalent to a 3.4 per cent average annual reduction. But a 6.7 per cent year-to-year reduction was needed over the 2010-2020 period to reach the EU 2020 target through constant progress in annual percentage terms. As a result of the failure to reduce deaths at the pace required, annual reductions of 11.4 per cent each year are now needed between 2017 and 2020 for the EU to stay on track.
“Significant and urgent efforts are needed to achieve this. The political will to improve on this poor progress is important. The lack of it at EU member state level has contributed to a decline in levels of police enforcement, a failure to invest in safer infrastructure and limited action on tackling speed and drink driving in a number of countries, the report noted.
It also said that at the EU level, there has also been a conspicuous lack of action. Minimum EU vehicle safety standards have not been updated since 2009 despite rapid advances in vehicle crashworthiness and new technology that can help drivers to avoid or mitigate the consequences of collisions. Plans to update the standards were postponed and the proposal is not expected until March 2018. Updates to EU infrastructure safety rules have also not materialised, it noted.
The 2017 ETSC Road Safety PIN Award was presented to Switzerland at the 11th PIN Conference in Brussels on 20 June. The award recognises Switzerland’s long- term performance in improving road safety.