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We Have to Do More to Reduce Road Fatalities: 2022 Back at Pre-Pandemic Levels

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We Have to Do More to Reduce Road Fatalities: 2022 Back at Pre-Pandemic Levels

The Swedish Transport Agency recently presented the accident statistics for 2022, and it makes for grim reading. We are now back at the same level as before the pandemic, and thus far from the Vision Zero goal that the Swedish Parliament in adopted in 1997. Last year, 220 people died in traffic accidents. This is 13 more than the average during the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, when 204 and 210 people died, respectively. The corresponding figure for the year before the pandemic, 2019, was 221 people.

In February 2020, the government set a new interim target, that involves halving the number of road fatalities by 2030 and reducing the number of seriously injured by at least 25 per cent. The starting values are averages of the outcomes in the years 2017-2019. In actual figures, this means that the goal is a maximum of 133 fatalities and a maximum of 3,100 seriously injured in road traffic in 2030.

Despite this, the Vision Zero goal, which means that no one should be injured or killed in traffic, remains in place. According to the authorities, the Vision Zero will be achieved through a systematic approach and measurable goals. Therefore, they will continue to, among other things, separate meeting roads, install more speed cameras, and rebuild intersections to make them safer.

However, I don’t think this is enough. There must be more things that we can do.

Out of the 220 people who died, 30 were motorcyclists, 26 pedestrians, 20 cyclists, and 11 moped riders.
For these groups, neither speed cameras nor separated roads will help, and probably not even rebuilt intersections.

I believe that higher demands must be placed on these road users, especially on cyclists who zoom through city traffic from all directions. They seem to think no traffic rules apply to them, and that they are visible without lights or reflectors. The same goes for runners with headphones, who fall under the pedestrian category in the survey. They can’t hear when danger approaches, and therefore think it is entirely safe to run out into the middle of the road. Sadly, 15 of the motorcyclists died in single-vehicle accidents, probably due to excessive speed relative to road conditions and circumstances. And add to that a new type of traffic accident, which has increased the last year. These are so-called A-tractors, in which four people died in 2022.

To reduce the number of fatalities in these groups, I am convinced that we must introduce higher demands on education in traffic safety, more controls, and stricter penalties for faulty vehicles and law-breaking – bordering on insane – behaviour in traffic.


Fatalities in traffic 2011–2022

2011: 319

2012: 285

2013: 260

2014: 270

2015: 259

2016: 270

2017: 252

2018: 324

2019: 221

2020: 204

2021: 210

2022: 220

(Source: Swedish Transport Agency)




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