Over 42,000 road users are killed in European Union (EU) countries annually and around 3.5 million are injured, when under-reporting is taken into consideration. This accounts for an annual cost of over 160 billion Euros and untold pain and suffering of the victims and their relatives. Looking at fatality numbers, car occupants are the largest single casualty group. They comprise 57% of total EU road deaths, with the majority of car occupant casualties sustained in side and frontal impacts. Looking at fatality risk however, the traffic system is less safe for the more vulnerable road users, where the risk of death on EU roads is substantially higher than for car occupants. Indeed, for pedestrians and cyclists the risk is 8-9 times higher and for motorcyclists it is 20 times higher.
A study in one EU Member State has reviewed the effectiveness of casualty reduction measures nationally since 1980. This has demonstrated that the greatest reduction was achieved from vehicle crash protection (15%). Drink/drive measures have resulted in a reduction of 11%, while road safety engineering measures in a reduction of 6.5%.
The rather small impact of road and infrastructure related measures on accident reduction until now may be well attributed to the high cost of such measures. Thus, although a study in Greece has identified hundreds of "black-spots" in the main national road network several years ago, the authorities have intervened with local road works in only very few of them.