Bulgaria’s road death rate decreased between 2001 and 2013 but continues to be much higher than the European Union average, going by figures in a European Commission statement on March 31 2014.
In Bulgaria in 2013, the number of fatalities per million inhabitants was 82, while across the EU the average was 52.
Bulgaria was among countries that should “strengthen their efforts” to reduce road deaths, the European Commission said.
Bulgaria’s road death rate decreased from 124 per million inhabitants in 2001 to 105 in 2010 and 82 in 2012, remaining unchanged from this figure in 2013.
Across the EU, the road death rate was 113 in 2001, 62 in 2010, 56 in 2012 and 52 in 2013.
Commenting on the EU-wide figures, the European Commission said that 2013 was the second year in a row that saw an “impressive decrease” in the number of people killed on Europe’s roads.
According to preliminary figures, the number of road fatalities in the EU had decreased by eight per cent compared to 2012, following the nine per cent decrease between 2011 and 2012.
“This means that the EU is now in a good position for reaching the strategic target of halving road deaths between 2010 and 2020. Road safety is one of the big success stories of Europe,” the European Commission statement said.
The 17 per cent decrease since 2010 meant that about 9000 lives had been saved, the Commission said.
Vice-President Siim Kallas, EU Commissioner for mobility and transport, said: “Transport safety is a trademark of Europe. This is why it is extremely important that the good results from 2012 were not a one-off. I’m proud to see that the EU is fully back on track to reach the road safety target for 2020. However, there are still 70 people who die on Europe’s roads every day, so we cannot be complacent. We must continue our joint efforts at all levels to further improve the safety on European roads.”
Country-by-country statistics showed that the number of road deaths still varies greatly across the EU. On average, there were 52 road deaths per million inhabitants in the EU.
The countries with the lowest number of road fatalities remain the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands and Denmark, reporting about 30 deaths per million inhabitants.
Notably Spain, Germany and Slovakia have improved their positions on the list, moving in among the traditional top performers.
Only a few years ago, in 2011, progress in cutting road deaths fell to a disappointing two per cent, the Commission said.
“However, a reduction of nine per cent in 2012 and of eight per cent in 2013 mean that member states are back on track towards the strategic target.”
Those member states that had made progress but whose road fatality figures were still much higher than the EU average (Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania and Greece) are encouraged to strengthen their efforts.
The situation in Latvia, where the road safety situation unfortunately did not improve at all during the past year, merits particular attention; the number of road fatalities also increased in Malta and Luxembourg although the total numbers in these countries are so small that the big fluctuations from one year to the other are not statistically significant, the Commission said.
Another worrying feature of the statistics is the situation of vulnerable road users, the European Commission said.
“The number of pedestrians killed is decreasing to a lesser extent than expected and the number of cyclists killed has recently even been increasing. This is partly due to the fact that more and more people cycle; the challenge for member states is to encourage people to use their bicycles rather than their cars more often, but to make sure that the shift from car to bicycle is a safe one,” the European Commission said.