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Hannah Bennett, SolicitorAlthough road deaths as a result of road traffic accidents appear to be on the rise in parts of Britain, the EU has just reported the lowest ever number of road deaths across Europe as a whole.

According to the European Commission, deaths caused by road traffic accidents decreased by 9 per cent in 2012. The 2012 statistics report the lowest number of people killed in road traffic accidents in a year since the EU first began to collect the data.

In terms of numbers this means that 3000 less people died last year as a result of road traffic accidents across the EU. This is welcome news. As a personal injury solicitor I am acutely aware of the tragedy and heartbreak that road traffic accidents resulting in a death or serious injury can cause. Sadly I am also aware of how common such road traffic accidents are.

The statistics released show that on average 75 people still die on the EU’s roads everyday as a result of road traffic accidents. Worryingly, the statistics show that for every one of those 75 deaths on the EU’s roads there are 10 serious injuries arising as a result of road traffic accidents. Serious injuries in terms of the statistics include injuries such as brain injuries or spinal chord injuries. It is shocking to read that current estimates are that annually 250,000 people are seriously injured in road traffic accidents across the EU.

Somewhat reassuringly, measures are being taken by the EU to combat the issue of road traffic injuries. An EU road safety action programme is ongoing and is planning to reduce the number of road deaths by 50 per cent in the next ten years.  The European Commission has published a document called ‘Serious road traffic injuries’. This document outlines plans to develop a wide-ranging EU strategy on serious road traffic injuries.

Interestingly in 2012 the countries with the lowest number of road fatalities per million people were UK, Denmark and Netherlands, whilst the country with the highest number of road fatalities per million people in 2012 was Lithuania.

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