New ETSC PIN report: “The Impact of Covid-19 Lockdowns on Road Deaths in April 2020”

New ETSC PIN report: “The Impact of Covid-19 Lockdowns on Road Deaths in April 2020”

In March 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, most European governments put in place unprecedented restrictions on travel and movement including border closures, lockdowns for most of the population, closure of schools, workplaces, shops, leisure and sport facilities. This new ETSC PIN report assesses the impacts that had on road deaths in Europe during the month of April 2020 – by which time most countries were in lockdown.

Covid-19 countermeasures started at different times in different European countries. So ETSC decided to ask for data on road deaths to their national experts for the month of April, as by this time the majority of European countries had imposed countermeasures that resulted in significantly reduced traffic volumes. Out of 27 EU countries, 25 were able to provide the requested data.

A road death in the EU is defined as any person killed immediately or dying within 30 days as a result of a road collision. Data for April 2020 could therefore only be provided at least after 30 days had elapsed from the end of the month of April, i.e. at the end of May. This explains the delay in publishing this report.

The report shows an average 36% drop in road deaths in April 2020 compared to the average of the same month in the previous three years: The highest reduction in road deaths was recorded in Italy (84%), followed by Belgium, Spain, France and Greece with decreases of over 59%.  But reductions in traffic did not lead to reductions in deaths in all countries.

Ms. D. Adminaitė, ETSC Road Safety Performance Index project manager, who led the research, commented: “The Covid-19 lockdown has led to a huge disruption in mobility in Europe. There have been positive changes such as a rise in people walking and cycling and the installation of pop-up cycle infrastructure and lower speed limits in dense urban areas. However, there will be big risks moving forward if people avoid public transport and prioritise car use in urban areas. We need to rapidly improve the infrastructure for walking and cycling in urban, but also in rural areas. If governments, cities and towns don’t adapt to this new reality, the saving of lives on the roads during lockdown could soon be reversed.”

Download the full report from:

  • ETSC’s Road Safety Performance Index (PIN) programme receives financial support from the German Road Safety Council (DVR), Toyota Motor Europe, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration and CITA – the International Motor Vehicle Inspection Committee.
  • ETSC is a Brussels-based independent non-profit making organisation dedicated to reducing the numbers of deaths and injuries in transport in Europe.

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