Ranking EU Progress on Car Occupant Safety, PIN Flash Report 27

  • Published: European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), April 2014
  • Authors: Graziella Jost, Richard Allsop and Alessio Ceci, European Transport Safety Council (ETSC)
  • Date Added: 07 Dec 2015
  • Last Update: 07 Dec 2015
  • Format: pdf


To assess progress on improving car occupant safety and to make recommendations to Member States and EU institutions for measures to further reduce death and injury to car occupants.


The ETSC Road Safety Performance Index (PIN) is a policy tool to help EU Member States improve road safety, by comparing their performance to identify and promote best practice in Europe and bring about the kind of political leadership that is needed to create a road transport system that maximises safety.

Key Findings

  • Around 240,000 car occupants were killed in road collisions in the EU27 between 2001 and 2012. There were 12,345 deaths in cars in 2012 compared with 27,700 in 2001, a cut of 55%.

  • Deaths of car occupants were cut by more than the overall death rate (49%) and substantially more than the rate for other road users (41%).

  • Car occupants have benefitted more than other road users over the past decade because many road safety measures have targeted car occupants including improved vehicle occupant protection. But car occupant deaths still represented almost half (48%) of all road deaths in 2010-2012.

  • Car occupant deaths decreased in all PIN countries since 2001. Spain and Latvia achieved the best annual average reductions between 2001 and 2012. Good progress was also made in Switzerland, the Netherlands, the UK and Sweden which are now the safest countries in terms of car occupant deaths per billion vehicle-km travelled.

  • Car occupant deaths as a percentage of recorded road deaths in the PIN countries in 2012 ranged from 33% to 70%, and in most countries were between 40% and 60%.

  • 4 children (aged 0 to 14) per million child population were killed in cars across the EU each year between 2010 and 2012. This rate ranged across most of the PIN countries from less than 1 to more than 8. Correct fitting and use of child restraints is important in preventing such deaths.

  • Key recommendations to Member States include adopting strong legislation and apply best practice in enforcement against speeding, drink driving and the non-use of seat belts and child restraints.

  • Key recommendations to EU institutions include aligning type approval crash tests with high performing Euro NCAP crash tests, and extending mandatory fitment as standard equipment of an enhanced seat belt reminder system for all vehicle seats with audible and visual warnings.