The European Commission last week dedicated its Fourth European Road Safety Day to young people, recognising that, around the world, road crashes are still the biggest cause of death and disability for the age group.
In 2010, 18 to 25 year-olds accounted for 19% of the 31,000 recorded EU road fatalities, despite forming only ten percent of the total population. According to the Commission, this indicates that those aged between 18 and 25 face almost twice as high a risk of dying in traffic accidents.
A young driver was involved in 40% of EU fatal accidents in 2010, says the Commission, while 25% of the fatalities involving car drivers were young people – 81% boys and 19% girls.
Taking a closer look at the road fatalities of young people per transport mode, the figures show that:
- 66% involved passenger cars;
- 20% involved powered two wheelers;
- 2% were pedestrians;
- 8% were pedal cyclists; and
- 4% involved other modes of transport, such as an HGV or bus.
More positively, road deaths for the 18-25 age group appear to have decreased by 49% between 2001 and 2010 – more than the general decrease of 43%. Road deaths among young car drivers also fell over the same period, decreasing by 55%.
“I am optimistic that we can advance towards our ‘vision zero’ for EU road safety, as we made good progress in the last 10 years,” said Commission Vice President Siim Kallas, who is responsible for Transport. “Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go. Only by changing young people’s driving mentality can we continue to save lives.”
The Commission dedicated the 4th European Road Safety Day (held on 25th July) to 18 to 25 year-olds, as part of its strategy of encouraging young people to become actively involved in road safety issues.
The day was marked by a conference, jointly organised with the Cyprus Presidency, and the launch of the new European Youth Forum for Road Safety Facebook page.