2021 Final Figures:

EU Observing Post-Lockdown

Surge In Road Fatalities


iStock 12497912712The spike comes after a significant plunge in 2020. PHOTO: ISTOCK2 NOV - Post-pandemic surge in the number of road fatalities is among the most worrisome data within the European Commission's recently published final figures on road safety for 2021.

The Commission publishеd the final figures in late October, following the publication of the preliminary data in March 2022.


Figures show that an estimated 19 900 people were killed on EU roads last year, a 6% increase in relation to 2020. This followed an unprecedented annual fall of 17% between 2019 and 2020. The picture over the last two years has been strongly influenced by the traffic levels in each country which were considerably lower during the pandemic. For some Member States, the post-lockdown increase in road fatalities is so significant that it calls for deeper analysis and urgent action, the Commission urges.

EU-wide, there were 45 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2021. The fatality rate ranges from 20/million in Sweden and 22/million in Denmark to 81/million in Bulgaria and 92/million in Romania. The average road fatality number for the whole union is 54 persons a day.


Preliminary figures for the first seven months of 2022 indicate the number of road deaths has increased again, by more than 10% on average, compared with 2021. Some Member States have seen significantly larger rises. The EU-wide estimate for road deaths in 2022 to date is still below that of the pre-pandemic year 2019, though monthly fluctuations make an accurate prediction for the entire year difficult. The current pace of change is insufficient to meet the EU’s target of halving the number of deaths by 2030, the Commision points out.


To this end, the Commission is working closely with Member States to ensure that they implement a holistic safe-system approach – widely accepted as the best means to tackling road safety - as part of their national road safety strategies for the decade to 2030. The Commission has also published a series of reports as part of its European Road Safety Observatory, providing detailed data and analysis on a range of road safety topics such as children, seniors, novice drivers, cyclists, drink-driving, personal mobility devices, driver distraction and seat-belt wearing.


The European Commission is working to deliver its EU Road Safety Policy Framework 2021-2030 to halve the number of fatalities and serious injuries on European roads by 2030, as a milestone on the way to ‘Vision Zero’ – zero fatalities and serious injuries by 2050.