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Germany sees little change in road deaths

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Germany sees little change in road deaths
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16:08 CET+01:00
Germany saw a slight increase in road fatalities between 2013 and 2014, but an overall decrease since 2010, according to a European Commission report released on Tuesday.

The number of deaths on German roads rose by 1 percent last year, from 41 deaths per million inhabitants in 2013 to 42 deaths per million in 2014.

Still, the country has seen some improvement since 2010 when traffic-related fatalities were reported to be 45 per million inhabitants.

But the slight increase in German fatalities is not necessarily a sign that drivers have gotten worse, a spokesman for Germany's biggest motoring association ADAC told The Local.

"These small changes in statistics are dependent on the weather. It depends if the winter is very mild, or if the winter begins very early and people drive slower," said ADAC spokesman Andreas Hölzel.

"The drivers are not the fundamental problem. Germany’s problem is that ordinary roads must be better developed, and that cars must be built safer,” Hölzel added. "German drivers are safe, we have strict driving schools and police, but supervision can always be stronger,"

Across Europe, the level of change was also small, with overall road fatalities decreasing by 1 percent between 2013 and 2014, compared to a drop of 8 percent between 2012 and 2013.

"Following two years of solid decreases in the number of people killed on Europe's roads, the first reports on road deaths in 2014 are disappointing," the commission said in a press release.

The total number of road deaths was 25,700 over all 28 EU member states, which was 5,700 fewer fatalities than in 2010, but still short of the commission's goal.

"It's sad and hard to accept that almost 70 Europeans die on our roads every day, with many more being seriously injured," said EU Commissioner of Transport Violeta Bulc in a statement. "The figures published today should be a wake-up call. Behind the figures and statistics there are grieving spouses, parents, children, siblings, colleagues and friends. They also remind us that road safety requires constant attention and further efforts."

Germany still did better than the European average for fatalities of about 51 per million inhabitants. The safest countries were Malta (26 deaths per million), the Netherlands (28), Sweden (29) and the United Kingdom (29).

The most dangerous were  Latvia (106), Romania (91), Bulgaria (90) and Lithuania (90).

The EU said it aims to cut the number of road deaths reported in 2010 in half by 2020.

The report also highlighted the risk to pedestrians, who made up 22 percent of road-related deaths in 2013, the most recent year for data. In Germany, pedestrians made up 17 percent of road fatalities while cyclists made up 11 percent.

 
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