Research supports calls for an EU target to reduce serious road injuries

135,000 people were seriously injured on European roads in 2014, according to figures published by the European Commission for the first time in April. While the number of deaths on European roads has fallen dramatically over the last decade, serious injuries have declined at a much slower rate. Official targets to reduce road deaths have been in place since 2001, but there is no equivalent for serious injuries.

As the European Transport Research Council (ETSC) reports, the new research ("Study on Serious Road Traffic Injuries in the EU") examined real world collision data and investigation outcomes from across Europe in an attempt to boost understanding of the most common collision situations that result in serious injuries. The data reveal many of the key risk factors and victim profiles which could help member states identify the best measures to reduce such collisions.

According to the researchers, cyclists are most likely to be seriously injured when travelling in urban areas with 50 km/h speed limits – with more collisions occurring in summer months, and in the afternoon. Pedestrians, however, are more at risk in winter months, with the elderly and children the most likely victims.

The Commission was expected to set a target to reduce serious road injuries in the first half of last year, having been promised ‘shortly’ in a Commission press release of 24 March 2015.

Public health groups and medical experts backed an EU target last month. Their intervention followed earlier calls from MEPs, transport ministers and road safety experts.

Access the study here.