Road deaths are up because enforcement is down
More than 26,000 people died on EU roads last year - the first rise in road deaths since 2001.
According to the ETSC annual road safety performance index (PIN) report, speeding, drink driving, distracted driving and not wearing a seatbelt are still the biggest cause of death and serious injury across Europe.
What's happening here?
According to the European Transport Safety Council, which published the report, it's our lack of police enforcement. And it's not just that fewer people are being caught breaking the law; the less likely being caught seems, the more people act dangerously on the road.
The countries with the slowest improvement in crash stats (Sweden, The Netherlands and Finland) are also the places where the number of speeding tickets issued has fallen. They've also fallen in the UK, where we've been less than great with our own road safety improvements.
Norway (of COURSE) are winning at this game. They've cut road deaths by 44% over the last 5 years and managed a 20% reduction last year alone, which is OUTSTANDING.
Why isn't UK road safety enforcement working?
We're not getting worse in the UK but we're getting better much slower than we should be. Since police budget cuts in 2010, road-side alcohol checks have fallen 5%. It would be cute to suggest maybe we're driving better but the numbers of drink drive deaths have not declined to match.
It's estimated that 2% of distance travelled in the EU is under the influence of alcohol over the limit but a quarter of road deaths in the EU are alcohol-related.