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Up to 40% of road deaths in Europe are work-related, new research suggests

Employers, national governments and the EU are being urged to take action to tackle work-related road risk, as latest estimates suggest that up to 40% of all road deaths in Europe are work-related.

Police accident sign

As EU road death figures stagnate, employers are essential to tackling road risk according to the new ETSC report.

The analysis of EU road safety data, published by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), finds that a total of 25,671 lives were lost on the road in the European Union in 2016.

Although the exact number of work-related road collisions is unknown, based on detailed analysis of data from across Europe, the authors estimate that up to 40% of all road deaths are work-related. In the UK, DfT figures find that at least one in three (31%) fatal crashes and one in four (26%) serious injury crashes in Britain involve someone driving for work.

In response – and as EU road death figures stagnate – the new ETSC report sets out that employers are essential to tackling road risk but says fleets need help and support from national governments and the EU to take action.

The report also stresses that improved data collection is a crucial first step. Police forces in the majority of EU countries do not currently register the purpose of the journey when recording the details of traffic collisions – this includes the UK where journey purpose is not always recorded by the police at crash scenes, according to Brake. There is also no standardised EU definition of a work-related road death, resulting in underestimation of the scale of the problem.

The authors also say that government and public authorities should lead by example and adopt work-related road safety management programmes for their employees and their fleets and include vehicle safety in public procurement requirements.

The authors also say that government and public authorities should lead by example and adopt work-related road safety management programmes for their employees and their fleets and include vehicle safety in public procurement requirements.

The report is published as Switzerland is named as the winner of the 2017 ETSC Road Safety Performance Index Award for its work to reduce deaths and serious injuries on European roads, with the ETSC saying it hoped the win sent a positive message to other traditional road safety leaders “who have dropped the ball in recent years” such as the UK.

In response, Jason Wakeford, spokesman for Brake, said: “Reductions in the numbers killed on UK roads have stagnated in recent years. Road deaths fell by just 1.4% between 2010 and 2016 – way short of the EU target. All other EU countries, with the exception of Lithuania, Malta and Sweden, have made better progress and urgent action is needed.

“It’s a disgrace that there are currently no UK targets for reducing the number of road deaths and we are calling for a UK target to be set as a priority for the Government.

“We need the creation of a Road Collision Investigation Branch, to help better understand road crashes so that lessons can be learned to prevent future deaths, alongside extra police resource for traffic enforcement.

“Brake is also calling on the European Commission to introduce new vehicle safety standards, including mandating Intelligent Speed Adaptation – helping drivers stay within speed limits.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.