ROAD SAFETY AND MORTALITY IN 2021, ONE YEAR AFTER COVID
The pandemic has changed so much our lives and has put us in front of new challenges.
However, one factor which has improved considerably and unexpectedly, has been the rate of accidents and victims on the roads.
2020 had seen a dramatic drop in numbers around the world, due to travelling restrictions as a measure against the spread of COVID 19. In 2021, in Italy, the numbers unfortunately started to rise again, reaching peaks close to the pre-pandemic times during the summer months.
Road safety in Italy in 2021, accidents and causes.
In 2021, in Italy, there were 2,875 road victims (20.0% more than the previous year), 204,728 injuries (+28.6%) and 151,875 road collisions (28.4% more than 2020). As many as 73% of car crashes occur on urban roads and only 5% on motorways. In terms of the causes of road collisions, there are no surprises: bad driving behavior is at the first place, followed by failure to respect the right of way, while a substantial 10% can be attributed to speeding.
Unfortunately, what has changed is the type of victims. While users of cars, motorcycles and pedestrians remain in the top three places in descending order, users of bicycles and electric scooters made up 8% of the victims last year. Victims among truck users are decreasing compared to the pre-pandemic period.
Summer months are those with the highest number of road fatalities, reminding us of the particular attention to be paid between June and September, when the holiday spirit triumphs among Italians.
Road safety and the impact of the pandemic
2021 data regarding road collisions in Italy are more worrying than the previous year, but still better than those of the pre-pandemic period.
Research shows, there is 9.4% less of casualties, -15.2% of injuries, and in general -11.8% of road collisions, offering a picture that still allows us to hope for a better future for road safety.
Italy’s Piano Nazionale Sicurezza Stradale (National Plan for Road Safety), drafetd by the Ministery for Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility last April, revises the factors of last years’ data and looks at the future scenarios and in agreement with the European Union’s and United Nations’ plans, identifies 5 key factors to improve Road Safety, namely:
- safer pavements
- safer vehicles
- safer driving
- speed limits that are suitable for road efficiency and safety
- post-car collision assistance
Road safety in Italy and in Europe
Italy’s situation reflects the European trend. In fact, the number of road collisions is up by 6% compared to 2022, but still below pre-pandemic levels. In any case, still far away from the goal of the “vision zero” strategy, which envisions a future (2050) without victims on the roads. As the numbers reveal, an action strategy to achieve intermediate objectives is needed, one of which is the 50% reduction in collisions with serious injuries. Speed control is among the KPIs monitored by the middle term plan. As a matter of fact, high speed is still the cause of a third of road collisions in Europe.