According to new, preliminary figures published by the European Commission, 25,100 people died on EU roads in 2018.
Despite that number being less than previous, more efforts are needed to ensure it continues to decrease for years to come.
The figures show that Ireland had the third lowest share of road fatalities in 2018 (31 deaths per million inhabitants) after the United Kingdom (28/million) and Denmark (30/million).
The EU average was 49 deaths per million inhabitants with Romania (96/million) and Bulgaria (88/million) having the highest fatality rates. Figures also show that around 135,000 people were seriously injured on EU roads in 2018.
According to the latest figures, road deaths in Ireland were down 30 per cent in 2018 on 2010 figures, compared to an average EU drop of 21 per cent over the same period.
Across the EU, the figures for car drivers and passengers have improved the most because cars have become safer. The smallest improvement is for vulnerable road users: unprotected cyclists and pedestrians, riders of powered two-wheelers and the elderly, especially in urban areas. Vulnerable road users account for almost half of road accident victims in the EU.
European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc said: “While I of course welcome any reduction in road traffic fatality figures, even a single road death is unacceptable. We have been assertive and ambitious in tackling road safety, adopting a strategic action plan, concrete actions on vehicle and infrastructure safety, and a policy framework for the next decade.
“As we continue to work towards ‘Vision Zero’ – zero road deaths by 2050, we are committed to working with all Member States, as well as the Parliament and road safety community, to provide a level of safety that EU citizens demand and deserve.”
In its road safety policy framework for 2021-2030 and strategic action plan on road safety, both published in May 2018 as part of the ‘Europe on the Move’ package, the Commission confirms the EU’s long-term goal of moving close to zero fatalities and serious injuries in road transport by 2050.
The new interim targets, responding to the 2017 Valletta Declaration by transport ministers are to cut the number of road deaths by 50 per cent between 2020 and 2030, and to halve the number of serious injuries in the same period.