Dangerous driving

OECD Observer

French President Jacques Chirac’s recent horror at French roads being among the most dangerous in Europe was borne out by recent figures from the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT), which is based at the OECD.

These show that while the highest number of road deaths in absolute terms in 2001 occurred in Russia, up 4.4% from a year earlier at 30,898, France came second, up 1% at 7,720.

Roads in western, central and eastern Europe generally became safer in 2001, with the number of road deaths significantly lower than in 2000, but in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) the record worsened, with a 5.3% rise in the number of fatalities. The number of deaths on the road in western Europe fell by 3.9% in 2001, while fatalities on central and eastern European roads dropped more than 4.7%. But the overall death toll on European roads for the year still came in at more than 87,500, preliminary figures from the ECMT showed.

And performance varied widely between countries. The sharpest rise in road deaths was in Yugoslavia, up 21.5% from a year earlier with 1,273 people killed, followed by Ukraine, with road deaths up 13.5% at 5,900. The steepest increase in western Europe was Finland, with road deaths up 9.3% in 2001 to 433. Macedonia and Liechtenstein can claim the sharpest percentage fall in road deaths, down 34.0% and 33.3% respectively, although the actual number of people killed remained far higher in Macedonia (107) than in Liechtenstein, where just two people died. And Azerbaijan was the only CIS state to reduce its number of road deaths, down 6.2% at 559.

©OECD Observer March 2003




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