For fleet managers in Europe, as elsewhere, the easy gains in safety performance are over
By Mark Boada, Senior Editor
While Europe’s roads remain among the world’s safest, the latest figures show that the European Union’s goal of cutting traffic fatalities in half by 2020 is at risk of slipping away. Worse, the underlying causes indicate that, as in the United States, traffic fatalities and accidents may be poised for a dramatic increase.
In 2011, the 28-nation European Union, in concert with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, formally adopted the goal of halving the E.U.’s motor vehicle deaths from 31,500 in 2010 to just 15,750 by the end of the decade. Considering that fatalities had been reduced at nearly that rate over the prior 10 years, the goal seemed reachable.
From 54,900 in 2001, over the first decade of the 21st century, E.U. road fatalities declined by 43%, an average of 5.4% year. A number of factors contributed to the trend, including advances in road design and repair, traffic enforcement and automotive safety technology. But it’s apparent now that another factor made a healthy contribution: fewer people on the road due a slower economy.