The number of road deaths in Germany could be as low this year as it has never been since the beginning of official censuses. According to estimates by the Federal Statistical Office, it is likely to decline to about 3090. "That would be the lowest level since the beginning of the statistics more than 60 years ago," said the authority on Tuesday in Wiesbaden. Even with the injured, a slight decline is expected – by about three percent to 383,000. Every day, there are on average eight deaths and more than 1,000 injuries on German roads.
Fewer deaths thanks to assistance systems
"The reasons for the positive development are primarily the increasing safety of vehicles and the increasing use of assistance systems," said a spokeswoman for the automobile club. Nevertheless, efforts are still needed to improve road safety, even as mobility increases.
"The numbers are no reason to celebrate," said accident researcher Siegfried Brockmann. More than 3000 deaths are still an urgent appeal for more safety on the road.
The estimate of statisticians for 2019 based on the figures for the first nine months of the year and may differ significantly from the final annual balance sheet, which is expected to be published in February. Then it will also be announced who is particularly affected: car drivers, pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists.
Accident count could rise
According to the forecasts of the Federal Office, the number of accidents recorded by the police in 2019 could rise slightly and reach more than 2.6 million again. That's an average of over 7100 accidents a day. It is estimated that casualties or deaths will fall by about three percent to about 300,000. In contrast, property-only accidents could easily rise to 2.3 million. The extent to which the new e-scooters have an impact on accident numbers is not yet known, the statisticians said. The scooters with electric drive are in use since early summer in this country.
The previous low of the number of road deaths was reached in 2017 with 3180 road deaths. Last year, there was a slight increase to 3275 fatalities. At what a low level the values today – despite deviations – lie, shows a look at the statistics. At the beginning of the 1950s, Germany and the GDR combined, there were almost 8,000 road deaths. In the mid-50s, the number rose to around 14,000. In 1970, with more than 21,000 traffic deaths, the previous record was reached, almost seven times as many as today.
Since then, the curve is falling – with small outliers. "A lot has happened," says a spokesman for the Federal Office. These include faster and better medical care, safer vehicles and a more modern infrastructure that avoids accident hotspots. In addition, factors such as helmet requirement, mandatory seat belt or lower alcohol limits.
But how can security be further developed? Accident researcher Brockmann calls for energetic and, in case of doubt, unpopular measures. This included more controls, higher fines and a better infrastructure – especially for cyclists.
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