Doctors For Road Safety concerned at rise in traffic accident fatalities

NGO Doctors For Road Safety concerned about rise in deaths on Maltese roads last year compared to 2010

While on average road traffic deaths in the EU were down 23% in 2019 compared to 2010, Malta and the Netherlands registered a rise over the same period
While on average road traffic deaths in the EU were down 23% in 2019 compared to 2010, Malta and the Netherlands registered a rise over the same period

The rise in the number of deaths on Maltese roads last year compared to 2010 is concerning, Doctors For Road Safety said.

The NGO noted that European Commission statistics issued last month indicated that only Malta and the Netherlands had registered an increase in deaths on their roads in 2019 compared to 2010.

In contrast, the EU overall registered a 23% decrease in deaths from road traffic accidents compared to 2010.

“Despite Malta having factors such as short driving distances and lack of highways in its favour with respect to risks for fatalities on the roads, the number of road traffic fatalities locally is significantly higher than in countries such as Sweden (which has been classified as the country with the safest roads in the union),” D4RS said.

D4RS, however, acknowledged the substantial improvements on Maltese road infrastructure over the past years and the reduction in drink-driving limit.

Additionally, development in the medical field, with more training for healthcare workers and more investment in pre-hospital care, had led to faster response times, it highlighted.

Despite these advances, one cannot be satisfied with the trend of deaths on Malta's roads, especially when the goal of the EU is to have 50% fewer deaths by 2030, the NGO said.

“Law enforcement on the road remains poor, leading to infringements of certain road traffic regulations being commonplace,” it noted.

Fatalities not only metric for assessing road safety

D4RS went on to note that the number of fatalities on the roads is not the only metric that should be considered when assessing road safety in a country.

The number of road traffic accidents resulting in injuries, particularly grievous injuries, should also be considered, it said.

“Accidents resulting in grievous injuries often have life-changing consequences for the road users involved due to the medical complications such as fractures, organ damage and amputations that they suffer in addition to the pain and psychological trauma caused by the crash. In 2019, there were 305 accidents on Maltese roads that resulted in grievous injuries.”

“It is imperative that strategies which address education and continue improving infrastructure, are coupled with a robust enforcement strategy.”

“Malta’s own road safety strategy in 2014 had aimed for a 50% reduction of fatalities by 2024. We are still a long way off from this result but could we be still in time?” the NGO asked.

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