Poland receives European award for road safety

By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

Poland received the 2023 Road Safety Performance Index award for improving road conditions and reducing the number of fatal accidents by half in the past decade.

This is the first award bestowed on Poland by the European Transport Safety Council (ETCS), which published its latest report on June 19.

According to the ETCS, the number of fatalities on Polish roads decreased by 47 percent between 2012 and 2022. Last year, 50 people per million inhabitants died in road accidents in Poland, compared to 93 in 2012.

The only country with better statistics is Lithuania, which won the award last year after reducing the number of road fatalities by 60 percent. The comparison shows that the safest roads in Europe are in Norway, where 21 road fatalities per million inhabitants were recorded last year.

Mortality – road deaths per million inhabitants in 2022, with mortality in 2012 for comparison. (source: ETCS)

In terms of reducing this number over the past decade, Norway’s result is close to the EU average of 20 percent. Malta has the worst record in this regard, with a 189 percent increase in the number of road fatalities, followed by Israel with a 16 percent increase and then the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

The ETCS has stated that there are several reasons for awarding Poland, not simply its reduction in the number of road fatalities. Experts pointed to the country’s comprehensive National Road Traffic Safety Program, which sets goals to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries by half, as well as the extensive four-year Safe Road Infrastructure Program.

The report also acknowledges Poland’s expanded network of speed cameras, intensified sobriety checks on drivers, and the implementation of the “corridors of life” on highways, which enable rapid emergency response to accidents.

However, the ETCS has drawn attention to the fact that Poland’s maximum speed limit of 140 km/h on highways is the highest in the EU, excluding Germany, where many sections have no speed limits.

The Council welcomes the reduction of speed limits to 50 km/h in Polish cities and recommends further lowering it to 30 km/h on roads used by pedestrians and cyclists.

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