Road fatalities saw an annual 17 per cent reduction in the European Union in 2020, translating to some 4,000 fewer people dying on the roads due to lockdown measures, the EU commission said on Tuesday although Cyprus saw one of the smallest reductions.

A total of 18,800 road deaths were recorded in the EU in 2020, a 36 per cent reduction from 2010, according to the commission. The reduced deaths were attributed to the implementation of lockdown measures during the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the significant drop, country members missed the targeted reduction of fatal traffic accidents by half between 2010 to 2020.

Cyprus saw one of the lowest decreases in percentages with just an eight per cent reduction and 54 fatal accidents in 2020, compared with 59 in 2019 and a 20 per cent reduction from the 73 road deaths in 2010.

The only country that accomplished and surpassed the 50 per cent drop in road victims was Greece.

Croatia and Spain followed with 44 per cent fewer road victims from 2010 to 2020, Portugal with 43 per cent and Italy and Slovenia with 42 per cent. Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, and Malta all scored higher than 20 per cent.

Five member states, Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Luxemburg and Finland saw an increase in road deaths during the pandemic.

Some 70 per cent of the traffic deaths concern vulnerable users of the road network, including pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists, the commission added.