For the second consecutive year, Bulgaria had the second-highest road fatality rate in the European Union, the European Commission said on April 4, presenting its report on preliminary road fatality figures for 2018.
Only two EU countries recorded a fatality rate higher than 80 deaths per million inhabitants, against seven in 2010. The countries with the highest fatality rate were Romania (96/million), Bulgaria (88/million), Latvia (78/million) and Croatia (77/million).
However, Bulgaria was among countries with a decrease in the road fatality rate that was higher than average for the EU, the European Commission said.
Bulgaria’s road fatality rate in 2018 was nine per cent lower than in 2017, when it was 96/million.
The country’s road fatality rate has dropped by 20 per cent since 2010, when it was 105/million. In recent years, up until 2017, Bulgaria had the highest road fatality rate in the EU.
The European Commission said that in 2018, there were about 25 100 fatalities in road accidents in the EU 28. This is a decrease of 21 per cent compared to 2010, and one per cent compared to 2017.
“With an average of 49 road deaths per one million inhabitants, this confirms that European roads are by far the safest in the world.
“But it also shows we are off track to reach our target of halving the number of road deaths by 2020.
“This underlines the need for swift action by Member States and the entire road safety community to deliver on the EU’s strategic road safety action plan, published in May 2018 as part of the Juncker Commission’s ‘Europe on the Move’ package, which set out specific actions envisaged under the current Commission mandate,” the European Commission said.
The Commission said that it had already delivered concrete measures on vehicles and infrastructure safety, and both were agreed upon by the European Parliament and Council in early 2019.
For infrastructure, risk mapping will be carried out for all motorways and for primary roads, and vulnerable road-users will have to be systematically taken into account in all safety assessments, audits and inspections.
For vehicles, a number of safety features will be included in all new vehicles, such as Intelligent Speed Assistance to help drivers keep within the speed limit, and other proven new technologies such as Automated Emergency Braking and Lane Keeping Assistance.
For the majority of EU countries, the road fatality rate was below 60 deaths per million inhabitants in 2018.
The EU countries with the best road safety results in 2018 were the United Kingdom (28 deaths/million inhabitants), Denmark (30/million), Ireland (31/million), and Sweden (32/million).
The countries with a higher-than-average decrease in road deaths from 2017 to 2018 were Slovenia (-13 per cent), Lithuania (-11 per cent), Bulgaria (-9 per cent) and Slovakia and Cyprus (both -8 per cent).
(Photo: Gabriella Fabbri)