The number of road fatalities in Croatia in 2015 grew 13% from 2014, according to the latest statistics on road safety, released by the European Commission this past Thursday.

The number of Croatians killed in traffic accidents in 2015 was 82 per 1 million inhabitants, which makes Croatia the third EU country with the most road fatalities.

Sweden reported the fewest road fatalities, 27, and Romania and Bulgaria reported the most, 95 each.

EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc prepared a separate article on Croatia, calling on it to improve the conduct of road users, introduce safer vehicles and develop a safer infrastructure so as to catch up with countries with greater road safety.

She recommends focusing on education and proper compliance with traffic regulations, primarily those concerning speed limits, the use of safety belts and driving under the influence of alcohol. Croatia should pay more attention to road safety in inhabited areas where the proportion of road fatalities is very high and vulnerable road users are disproportionately threatened, she notes. 

The average EU fatality rate for 2015 was 51.5 road deaths per 1 million inhabitants, similar to the past two years. This slowdown, which follows a significant reduction of 8% in 2012 and 2013, has several contributing factors, such as a higher interaction between unprotected and motorised road users in our cities, the EC says in its report.

It estimates that 135,000 people were seriously injured on EU roads. The social cost (rehabilitation, healthcare, material damages, etc.) of road fatalities and injuries is estimated to be at least EUR 100 billion.

Despite that, the statistics confirm that European roads remain the safest in the world. Last year 26,000 people lost their lives on EU roads, 5,500 fewer than in 2010. There is, however, no improvement at EU level compared to 2014.

In order to reach the EU strategic target of halving the number of road deaths from 2010 to 2020, additional efforts are needed, the EC says.

This is the first time the Commission publishes such a figure, as EU Member States have started to report comparable and reliable data on serious road traffic injuries. This is the first step towards a European approach to serious injuries, the EC says.

To pave the way towards automation and better management of traffic, the Commission aims to develop a master plan on the deployment of cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) – a two-way communication between vehicles, with and between road infrastructure – in the second half of 2016. Such systems allow vehicles to warn each other directly (e.g. in case of emergency breaking) or through the infrastructure (e.g. upcoming road works), the EC says.

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