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UK Lags Behind in Reducing Road Traffic Fatalities

There has been no reduction in the number of road deaths across the European Union in the past three years, according to a new report from the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC).

Work-Related Traffic Accidents

New analysis of EU road safety data by ETSC shows that 25,671 lives were lost on the road in the European Union in 2016.

Alarmingly, a large proportion of those were victims of work-related road collisions. The exact number is unknown but, based on detailed analysis of data from across Europe, the authors estimate that up to 40% of all road deaths are work-related.

The ETSC has called on employers, national governments and the European Union to step-up efforts to tackle the problem of work-related road risk.

“While there are some great examples of large and small organisations across Europe starting to take road safety seriously, there are thousands more that turn a blind eye to the risks their employees take every day on the roads,” explained Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of ETSC.

“Many companies also wrongly see road risk management as a burden rather than an opportunity,” he said. “But reducing risks through journey management, targeted training and purchasing safer vehicles can cut insurance costs, lead to less time off and boost a company’s image. While employers need to do more, our report also shows that they need help and support from national governments and the EU to do it. ”

Calls for Better Data Collection

The ETSC says that better data collection is a crucial first step to tackling work-related deaths, and highlights that police forces in the majority of EU countries do not currently register the purpose of the journey when recording the details of traffic collisions. There is also no standardised EU definition of a work-related road death. This leads to an underestimation of the scale of the problem when neither deaths of third party road users nor commuting deaths are categorised as such.

One country that has successfully introduced measures to reduce road fatalities is Switzerland, which apparently saw a 15% drop in road deaths in 2016. Deaths have declined by 34% since 2010, and by 60% since 2001. The country now has the lowest road mortality (26 deaths per million inhabitants) in Europe, together with Norway, and was the winner of the 2017 ETSC Road Safety Performance Index Award.

UK Making Slow Progress

Road safety charity Brake has highlighted that, according to the ETSC report, the UK is one of the EU countries making the "slowest progress" towards targets to reduce road deaths.

"Reductions in the numbers killed on UK roads have stagnated in recent years,” commented Jason Wakeford, spokesman for Brake. “Road deaths fell by just 1.4% between 2010 and 2016 - way short of the EU target. All other EU countries, with the exception of Lithuania, Malta and Sweden, have made better progress and urgent action is needed.”

"It's a disgrace that there are currently no UK targets for reducing the number of road deaths and we are calling for a UK target to be set as a priority for the Government,” he added. "We need the creation of a Road Collision Investigation Branch, to help better understand road crashes so that lessons can be learned to prevent future deaths, alongside extra police resource for traffic enforcement.”

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For expert legal advice on making a personal injury claim following a road traffic accident, then contact our specialist personal injury lawyers today.

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