55% Reduction in Traffic Fatalities Over the Past Decade in the EU

Between the years 2001 and 2012, automobile fatalities were reduced by more than half in the EU:

Figures from the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), a non-governmental body, found more than 12,000 people were killed in cars in 2012 in the European Union and neighbouring Switzerland, the latest available figures, less than half the 28,000 deaths seen in 2001.

The council, in its report on Tuesday, credited stricter safety measures for the improvement.

Spain and Latvia stand out for the most progress, cutting the number of deaths by two-thirds from 2001 to 2012, but other nations still have bad records. The worst is Poland, where 11 people are killed in cars per billion kilometres travelled, compared with only around 2 in Britain, the Netherlands and Switzerland, according to the ETSC.

According to the report, the large reduction in fatalities was mainly a result of new modern highways that replaced rural roads. Advances in automobile technology and improved enforcement were other factors. The ETSC had little to say about promoting alternatives to driving, though it does mention that non-motorized road users had very little safety improvement.

The 2012 EU population was 508 million, vs. 313 million in the US. In 2012, the US had 33,561 traffic fatalities vs 12,000 in the EU.