Latvia's roads still among Europe's deadliest

Latvia maintained its unenviable reputation for having some of Europe's most dangerous roads in 2020, according to latest figures from Eurostat.

In 2020, the number of people killed in road traffic accidents in the EU decreased by 17% compared with 2019. Although this number decreased gradually over the last decade, the unprecedented drop in 2020 was largely due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictive measures on passenger transport. 

The total number of people who died in road accidents in the EU was 18 786 in 2020, of which 44% were passenger car occupants, 19% pedestrians, 16% on motorcycles, 10% on bicycles and 11% in other categories (including light and heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches, mopeds and other vehicles).

EU Road traffic fatalities, 2020

Compared with the population of each Member State, the lowest rates of road fatalities in 2020 were observed in Sweden (20 road traffic victims per million inhabitants), Malta (23), Denmark (27) and Spain (29), ahead of Ireland and the Netherlands (both 30).

In contrast, the highest rates were recorded in Romania (85 road traffic victims per million inhabitants), followed by Latvia (73), Bulgaria (67) and Poland (66).

In 2020, there were 42 road traffic victims per million inhabitants in the EU as a whole.

As far as Latvia's figures are concerned, 33.5 victims per million inhabitants were in passenger cars, 22.5 were pedestrians and 8.9 were cyclists.

In a startling contrast with Latvia, Estonia had just 5.3 fatalities per million inhabitants in accidents involving passenger cars.

In 2020, the number of pedestrians killed in road accidents per million inhabitants was highest in Romania, at 30.4, followed by Latvia (22.5), Lithuania (18.6), Poland (16.6) and Cyprus (14.6). In comparison, pedestrian deaths in the EU as a whole were estimated at 8.1 fatalities per million inhabitants in 2020. Around 30% of Latvia's road deaths were pedestrians.

Latvia's total of 139 road accident fatalities in 2020 was slightly up on 2019's figure of 132.

The 2011 White Paper Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area — Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system set out 40 practical measures for the next decade. On road traffic, the Commission has adopted an ambitious road safety programme that aims to cut road deaths in Europe in half between 2010 and 2020. The programme sets out a mix of initiatives, at European and national level, focusing on improving vehicle safety, the safety of infrastructure and road users’ behaviour.



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