Romania pushes Bulgaria into second place to claim EU’s highest road death rate in 2017

Bulgaria, which for a number of years has had the highest road death rate in the European Union, is now in second place behind Romania, according to statistics released on April 10 2018 by the European Commission.

The difference is slight, though: Romania had a road death rate of 98 per million inhabitants in 2017, while Bulgaria’s was 96. The Commission also noted that the statistics were preliminary and there could be minor changes in the final data for individual EU countries.

While Bulgaria and Romania were the only two EU countries to have a road fatality rate higher than 80 per million in 2017, Romania has had the larger improvement in its road death rate.

Romania’s road death rate is down from 117 per million in 2010, a decrease of 19 per cent. Over the same period, Bulgaria’s came down from 105 per million, a drop of 12 per cent.

The European Commission said that across the EU, for the second year in a row, there had been a decrease in the number of road fatalities of about two per cent.

In Bulgaria, the drop was one per cent, comparing 2017 with 2016. Romania gained one per cent.

A total of 25 300 people lost their lives on EU roads in 2017, which is 300 fewer than in 2016 and 6 200 fewer than in 2010 (-20 per cent).

“While this trend is encouraging, reaching the EU objective of halving road fatalities between 2010 and 2020 will now be very challenging,” the European Commission said.

In addition, it is estimated that a further 135 000 people were seriously injured last year, including a large proportion of vulnerable users: pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

“Beside the victims, road fatalities and injuries also affect the society as a whole, with an estimated socio-economic cost of 120 billion euro a year. All this calls for fresh efforts from all actors to make European roads safer,” the Commission said.

“While national and local authorities deliver most of the day-to-day actions, such as enforcement and awareness-raising, the Commission is currently working on a series of concrete measures to spur further substantial progress.”

With an average of 49 road fatalities per one million inhabitants, European roads remained by far the safest in the world in 2017.

Within the EU, Sweden (25 deaths per million inhabitants), the UK (27), the Netherlands (31) and Denmark (32) reported the best records in 2017. Compared to 2016, Estonia and Slovenia reported the largest drop in fatalities with, respectively, -32 per cent and -20 per cent.

In addition, the performance gap between member states further narrowed in 2017, with only two member states recording a fatality rate higher than 80 deaths per million inhabitants (Romania and Bulgaria), the European Commission said.

(Photo: Gabriella Fabbri)



The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.