Portugal tops for road safety progress

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Portugal has continued its unrivalled improvement in road safety. Figures published this week by the European Commission show that Portugal has reduced the number of fatalities by the highest percentage of any European country, with road deaths plummeting by 40 percent since 2010.

Brussels said that while Portugal saw fatalities on its roads drop by 10 percent between 2015 and 2016, it fell from 80 to 57 fatalities per one million inhabitants in the space of just six years.

The 2016 road safety statistics released today by the EC show an overall drop of two percent in the number of fatalities recorded across the EU last year. A total of 25,500 people lost their lives on EU roads in 2016, 600 fewer than in 2015 and 6,000 fewer than in 2010. A further 135,000 people were seriously injured on roads according to the Commission’s estimates.

Following two years of stagnation, 2016 marked the return of a positive downwards trend and over the last six years, with road fatalities being cut by 19 percent. Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: “The statistics are an improvement and something positive to build on. But it’s not the figures that worry me the most – it’s the lives lost, and the families left behind”, and recalled that 70 people lose their lives on European roads every day.

Last year was also the first time the Commission published data on serious road traffic injuries based on a new common definition, from 16 Member States, representing 80 percent of the EU population.

Based on this data, the Commission estimates that 135,000 people were seriously injured in collisions across the EU. Vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists accounted for a large proportion of the seriously injured people.

Meanwhile, latest available figures here in Portugal show that progress has so far continued into 2017. In 2015, a total of 104 people had lost their lives on national roads between 1 January and 21 March, before dropping slightly to 102 during the same period in 2016. But this year, fatalities are down to 90 up until 21 March, which is a 12 percent reduction on last year.

The total number of serious injuries was also down by a similar rate, falling from 417 last year to 362 in 2017.

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