Estonia wins road safety award for reducing traffic accident deaths

Traffic in Tallinn.
Traffic in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Estonia received a road safety award, which recognizes the country for its efforts over the past ten years in reducing the number of deaths in traffic accidents.

Estonia was named the winner of the 2020 Road Safety Pin Award by the European Transport Safety Council on Wednesday. The council said Estonia stood out in terms of increasing infrastructure safety and science-based road safety planning. 

Minister of Economic Affairs Taavi Aas (Center) said: "Estonia has set itself the goal that we will not have any road deaths in 2050, so we must work towards that."

An interview with Aas about Estonia's efforts can be read here

Explaining the actions the country has taken, he said: "Road infrastructure is an area where we have been very active over the last few years. Financial support for road infrastructure is planned 4 years in advance. Over the last few years we have invested significantly, not only in highcapacity 2+2 rural road safety, but also building up 2+1 roads. To eliminate the risk of head-on collisions we implemented central guardrail separation on 1+1 roads."

He also stressed the importance of "knowledge-based" policy making and said the government cooperates with academics and students and uses "machine learning for road accident forecasting and intervention planning".

Last year, 52 people died in traffic accidents in Estonia, which is half the number in 2009, ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Wednesday.

The 2020 Road Safety Pin Award winner and the previous winnters. Source: European Transport Safety Council.

Last year Luxembourg led the council's rankings with a 39 percent reduction in the number of road deaths between 2018 and 2019. It was followed by Sweden with a 32 percent decrease, Estonia with 22 percent and Switzerland with 20 percent.

In total, 22,660 people lost their lives on EU roads in 2019, representing a 3 percent reduction compared to 2018. While there has been progress over a longer period, it is not enough to meet the 2020 target, the council said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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