Covid has undoubtedly brought ups and downs in all sectors whether it is the economy, society, or tourism. All these sectors have acquired irreparable wounds last year and the focus of the government now is to mitigate the losses for the current year. A remarkable thing that happened during the pandemic is the significant decrease of road accidents in Greece and Europe.
As we all know, tourism is a big part of Greek economy, but in summer of 2020, tourists did not visit the Greek islands and many hotels and restaurants were unable to cover the necessary expenses.
Nevertheless, the only beneficial thing that happened last year was the reduction of road accidents by 11,9% and a significant decrease 16% in road fatalities, here in Greece. The main reason for this significant decrease is mainly attributed to the traffic restrictions due to the pandemic with the obvious bad effects for economy.
According to ELSTAT (Hellenic Statistical Authority), every year before covid, thousands of people were losing their lives or seriously injured in road accidents. More precisely, in the eleven months period of January-November 2020, a total of 550 people died in 8.523 traffic accidents in Greece.
In the corresponding period of 2019, this number was 637 deaths in 9.883 traffic accidents. The reduction of the deaths was 13.66% and the traffic accidents were reduced by 13.76%. As expected, the number of seriously and slightly injured in traffic accidents was lower in 2020. Specifically, last year, 9,952 people were injured in traffic accidents, compared to 13,002 in 2019, while the relative highest number of the decade was in 2010 with 19,108 people injured.
Examining the data per month, someone can observe that the highest number of traffic accidents in our country in 2020 compared to 2019, occurred in the first two months of the 2020, i.e., before the first lockdown, as well as in September 2020, when also there were no mobility restrictions in force.
In terms of road deaths, August 2019 was the “deadliest” month of 2019 and 2020 as there were 80 deaths. For 2020, most victims are identified in September, the month in which most accidents occurred in the same year.
It should be noted that according to National Road Safety Observatory’s data, Greece had the most impressive road safety improvement in the European Union the last decade, with a decrease of 49% in road fatalities since 2011, achieving its target of halving road fatalities in 2020 compared to 2010. Serious injuries were reduced by 70% and the rate of fatalities per vehicle was decreased by 52% since 2011. Another conclusion for Greece is the fact that fewer accidents involving foreign vehicles during the summer as tourism had lost its strength due to the pandemic. Moreover, there were fewer accidents in which trucks/trailers were involved, but consequently the number of accidents outside of Greece was also decreased.
Ιn a European level the lockdown and the restrictive measures seem to have brought also a significant reduction around 35% in road deaths across Europe due to the significant decrease of circulation. Preliminary data prepared by the European Safety and Transport Council for 25 EU Member States shows that road deaths last April 2020 fell by 36% compared to the same month’s average of the previous three years. For the same period the highest reduction in road deaths (84%) was recorded in Italy, followed by Belgium, Spain, France, and Greece with over 59% decrease. Even though traffic volumes were reduced in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, road deaths during the month of April 2020 remained similar or were even higher than in previous years. The above results are also related to the strictness of measures taken in each EU country.
Road traffic accidents are the second leading cause of death among people aged 5-29 years and it is the 11th leading cause of death worldwide.
By reducing the road traffic created by vehicles, the number of accidents is bound to be decreased. Furthermore, this would be greatly reducing the burden of Air pollution and Global warming.
2020 and 1st Half of 2021 are to be considered as bad periods for the humanity due to the Covid and the drastic changes in our lives, but we must stay strong to get out of this dystopia wiser and optimistic for a bright future!
Let’s take nothing for granted and appreciate the value of life.