Poland wins road safety award as deaths fall by half in a decade
Poland has been awarded the 2023 Road Safety Performance Index (PIN) Award for the first time as deaths fall by half in 10 years.
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) recognized Poland with the exceptional achievement after reducing road deaths by 47% between 2012 and 2022, far exceeding the EU average reduction of 22%.
In 2022, the country’s road mortality rate, measured as the number of road deaths per million inhabitants, stood at 50 per million, representing a significant improvement from 93 per million in 2012.
This decline was second only to Lithuania, which received the ETSC award last year after reducing road deaths by 60%.
According to Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of the ETSC: ”In ten years, Poland has greatly improved road safety in ten years and sets an example on how to take the issue seriously, there has been a genuine commitment to setting targets, improving infrastructure and boosting enforcement, all key factors in this impressive reduction."
In addition to the substantial reduction in road deaths, the ETSC panel of experts cited other key elements considered for awarding this year’s prize including Poland’s comprehensive plan to halve both deaths and serious injuries by 2030, the expansion of speed camera and time-over-distance camera network, an increase of 19% in drink-driving enforcement checks and the introduction the an ‘emergency corridor' system enabling emergency vehicles to access collision sites on motorways.
Posting on Twitter, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said: “The biggest thanks are due to all responsible drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. It's a success for all of us!”
The results positioned Poland ahead of Italy and Belgium. Still, Norway secured the title for the safest roads in Europe with a mortality rate of 21 per million, closely followed by Sweden with 22 per million.
However, the ETSC highlighted that speed limits in Poland are still too high, particularly on motorways where the maximum speed of 140 km/h is one of the highest in the EU, second only to Germany.
Coinciding with the announcement, the ETSC published new analysis revealing a 4% increase in road deaths across the EU last year, reaching a total of 20,679 fatalities.
However, this number remains 9% lower than the pre-pandemic year of 2019, when traffic volumes were unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic.