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The number of fatalities on Swedish roads is not decreasing

Last year, 270 people died due to traffic crasches in Sweden, which is an increase from 2015. The outcome was presented at an annual conference and the speakers agreed: we have reached a plateau and need to come together to create better results.

Every year, Trafikverket (Swedish Transport Administration), together with VTI (Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute) and Transportstyrelsen (Swedish Transport Agency) analyses the situation regarding road traffic safety. To monitor developments on the road towards Vision Zero, the outcomes are measured against several indicators that measure speed compliance, seat belt use, helmet use, safe vehicles, safe public roads and maintenance of pedestrian, cycle and moped paths.

For the past nine years, the organisations compile an annual analysis of the road safety trends; the findings are presented at a conference on road traffic safety in Stockholm every year.

When the road traffic safety development for 2016 was presented at the conference in April 2017, the figures indicated that the number of people killed in road traffic is no longer decreasing. In 2016, 270 people were killed on Swedish roads. The corresponding figure for 2015 was 259. A key development was that more indicators than ever before show that the trends are deviating from the desired outcomes. At the same time, it is equally important to save lives today as it was twenty years ago when Vision Zero was introduced.

The 1st of September 2016 the Swedish Government announced its decision to relaunch Vision Zero, an intensified initiative for transport safety in Sweden. For this reason, Trafikverket was tasked with leading the road safety collaboration to achieve Vision Zero. The assignment includes convening and leading dialogue between relevant government agencies and other stakeholders, and proposing some activity development requiring stakeholder collaboration.

20 Years with Vision Zero

In 1997, based on a decision by the Swedish Parliament, Sweden launched Vision Zero. Lena Erixon, Director General at the Swedish Transport Administration, reminded the audience at the conference that the fatality rate has dropped significantly from the time when Vision Zero was first launched twenty years ago when the number of traffic deaths exceeded 500 people per year.

"The work with Vision Zero has been successful, but we need to do more to save more lives," said Lena Erixon. "To achieve this goal, we need more cooperation, innovation and sustained work."

Driving and mobile phones, among other things, were discussed. Transportstyrelsen presented its findings from the recently completed study of driver use of communication devices while driving and expressed their thoughts about the findings.

Many important measures

There is a need for more and further actions to improve the development of road traffic safety. Maria Krafft, Director of Traffic Safety and Sustainability at Trafikverket, was one of the speakers at the Annual Conference on Road Traffic Safety. She is also a speaker at the Vision Zero Conference in Stockholm in June 2017. Dr Krafft addressed measures such as increasing the number of median barrier roads, continued adjustment of speed limits, increasing focus on keeping speed limits and on increased helmet use.

Vision Zero Fact Sheet

  • In 1997, Sweden launched Vision Zero based on a decision by the Swedish Parliament. This has led to changes in traffic safety working methods. The Vision Zero approach has also been applied internationally.
  • In June 2009, the Swedish Parliament established a new traffic safety target for Swedish roads. This means that the number of fatalities in 2020 may not exceed 220. The target requires a reduction in fatalities by 50% from 2007 to 2020. The number of seriously injured in road traffic should decrease by a quarter in the same period.
  • For the railways, a similar target has been formulated. It states that the number of deaths in railway accidents should not exceed 55 in 2020, which is one half of 110 deaths (2010 level).

Analysis of road safety trends 2014 – management by objectives for road safety work towards the 2020 interim targets (webshop)