2023 data reveal:


Troubling Lack Of Progress In

EU's Pursuit Of Vision Zero


LithuaniaнамаленаPHOTO: POLICIJA.LRV.LT19 МAR - Stalling progress in reducing road fatalities in many member countries of the EU was revealed by recently published preliminary statistics for 2023.

Around 20,400 people were killed in road crashes in the EU last year, a quite insufficient 1% decrease from 2022. Despite some progress since the baseline year of 2019, few Member States are on track to meet the target of halving the number of road deaths by 2030, a key milestone in pursuing the Vision Zero by 2050.


Road fatalities generally have fallen by 10% compared with the last pre-pandemic year 2019, but the downward trend is flatlining in several member states. The number of road fatalities has decreased rather negligibly since 2019 in Spain, France and Italy, while it has risen in Ireland, Latvia, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Sweden. In contrast, over the last four years, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary and Poland are at least up till now set to meet the 50% reduction target by 2030.


The overall ranking of countries’ fatality rates has not changed significantly, with the safest roads still found in Sweden (22 deaths per one million inhabitants) and Denmark (27/million). There is a reshuffle at the back though. For the first time in more than a decade Bulgaria (82/million) has just pipped Romania (81/million) to become the negative leader with the highest fatality rates in 2023. The EU average in 2023 was 46 road deaths per million inhabitants.

The available EU-wide data for 2022 (detailed 2023 data is not yet available) shows that 52% of road traffic fatalities occurred on rural roads, versus 38% in urban areas and 9% on motorways, the EU informs.

Road Users

The trend in the number of cyclists killed on EU roads is a serious concern: more than 2,000 cyclists were killed in 2022. This is the only main road user group not to see a significant drop in fatalities over the last decade, notably due to a persistent lack of appropriate infrastructure and unsafe behaviour of all road users such as speeding, distraction and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. 

Men accounted for three out of four road deaths (77%). Older people, aged 65+, are at greater risk as they represented 29% of all road deaths while they account for 21% of the population. Similarly, young people aged 18-24 accounted for 12% of road deaths but 7% of the population.  

Car occupants (drivers and passengers) represented 45% of all fatalities, while pedestrians accounted for 18%, users of powered two-wheelers (motorbikes and mopeds) 19%, and cyclists 10%. The patterns change significantly depending on age. Among those aged 65+, pedestrians represent 29% of fatalities and cyclists 17%. See below the latest collision matrix detailing the main vehicles involved in fatal road crashes.