Bulgaria’s road fatality rate in 2021 was 81 per million inhabitants, the second-highest in the European Union, after Romania’s rate of 92 per million inhabitants, according to final data for last year published by the European Commission (EC) on October 17.
Before 2017, Bulgaria had the highest road fatality rate in the EU, which it joined at the beginning of 2007.
The EU’s road fatality rate was lowest in Sweden, at 20 per million inhabitants, with Denmark second-lowest at 22 per million inhabitants.
EU-wide, there were 45 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2021, the EC said.
The EC said that an estimated 19 900 people died on EU roads last year, a six per cent increase in comparison with 2020.
This followed an unprecedented annual fall of 17 per cent between 2019 and 2020, the Commission said.
“The picture over the last two years has been strongly influenced by the traffic levels in each country which were considerably lower during the pandemic. For some member states, the post-lockdown increase in road fatalities is so significant that it calls for deeper analysis and urgent action,” the EC said.
The EC said that for the first seven months of 2022, preliminary figures show an average increase of over 10 per cent of road deaths compared to the same period in 2021.
“However, the current trend is still below pre-pandemic levels,” the EC said.
The EU-wide estimate for road deaths in 2022 to date is still below that of the pre-pandemic year 2019, though monthly fluctuations make an accurate prediction for the entire year difficult, the Commission said.
“The current pace of change is insufficient to meet the EU’s target of halving the number of deaths by 2030,” it said.
The EC said that it was working closely with EU countries to ensure that they implement a holistic safe-system approach – widely accepted as the best means to tackling road safety – as part of their national road safety strategies for the decade to 2030.
The Commission has also published a series of reports as part of its European Road Safety Observatory, providing detailed data and analysis on a range of road safety topics such as children, seniors, novice drivers, cyclists, drink-driving, personal mobility devices, driver distraction and seat-belt wearing.
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