Press Notice
Tuesday 8th June 1999


A new ETSC review compiled by road safety experts from across the EU presents new information and estimates concerning the risk of death and injury in travel in the European Union. The key findings are:

  • Road transport has, by far, the highest overall risk level when measured by distance travelled.
  • Road crashes are the second most serious cause of death and hospital admission for EU citizens, preceded by cancer and followed by coronary heart disease.
  • The fatality risk in EU road transport is 40 times higher than for all employment activity and 12 times higher than for home activity.
  • Car travel is 10 times safer than walking, but 10 times less safe than bus travel.
  • Motorcycle or moped travel death risk is 20 times higher than for car travel.
  • Rail travel is the safest mode per kilometre travelled, followed closely by bus and air.
  • Air passenger risk relates to the number of take-off and landings. 82 per cent of crashes occur during take off, approach and landing phases. Most trips in the EU are short trips.
  • The risks associated with ferry travel are 8 times higher than for train travel.

Jeanne Breen, Executive Director of ETSC said: "Reducing the risks associated with travel in the EU needs to be at the top of the health and transport agenda at national and at international level."

Matthijs Koornstra, Chairman of ETSC's Transport Accident Statistics Working Party said:" There are large differences in the risks associated with different travel modes. The 43,000 road deaths annually comprise over 90 per cent of all transport deaths and road crashes are the leading cause of death for EU citizens <45 years. Currently, 90 per cent of all transport crash costs are from road transport - and exceed the costs of congestion, pollution, cancer or coronary heart disease in the EU."

For further information contact:
ETSC Brussels office: + 32 (0)2 230 4106