Number of road traffic deaths in Germany reaches 60-year low

Number of road traffic deaths in Germany reaches 60-year low

Last year, the number of people who died in road traffic accidents in Germany dipped to a 60-year low. At the same time, however, the total number of accidents spiked. 

Number of traffic fatalities in Germany sinks further

A total of 3.046 people lost their lives in traffic accidents in Germany in 2019, the lowest level since records began more than 60 years ago. This was reported by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) on Tuesday. Overall, the number of road traffic fatalities fell by 7 percent (229 people) compared to 2018.

On the other hand, the police recorded more than 2,7 million traffic accidents on German roads - the highest number since 1991, when current record-keeping standards began. A person was killed or injured in around 11 percent of the accidents. The total number of injuries decreased by 3 percent in 2019 to 384.000 people. 

The graph below shows the development of road traffic fatalities over time, with the red dots showing when new legislation was introduced - including speed limits (Höchstgeschwindigkeit), legal alcohol limits for driving (Promillegrenze) and requirements to wear helmets (Helmtragepflicht) or seatbelts (Gurtanlegepflicht). 

verkehrsunfaelle getoetete

Rural roads see higher fatality rate

As in previous years, the majority (69,2 percent) of accidents involving personal injury occurred in urban areas in 2019. However, only 30,6 percent of deaths happened in these areas. Most traffic fatalities actually happened on rural roads (57,7 percent). 6,7 percent of all accidents causing personal injuries took place on Autobahns, and 11,7 percent of all fatalities. 

Accidents on motorways and country roads often have worse consequences, among other things because of higher driving speeds. On country roads there are also risk-increasing factors such as the lack of separation of oncoming traffic, poor overtaking opportunities and blind intersections. 

Number of cyclist deaths on the rise

Compared to 2010, the total number of fatalities on German roads fell by 16,5 percent. However, there are clear differences between the main parties involved: for instance, the number of car occupants killed in 2019 was 25,9 percent lower than in 2010. The number of motorcyclist and pedestrian fatalities also declined, by 14,7 percent and 12,4 percent, respectively. 

By contrast, the number of cyclists killed has risen by 16,8 percent since 2010. Citing the growing number of accidents involving two-wheeled traffic, the German Cyclist Association (ADFC) has previously called on the government to invest heavily in road safety and bicycle infrastructure, to meet the growing demand.

Nonetheless, by far the majority of traffic fatalities were car occupants in 2019. Overall, 1.364 people died in a car, 605 on a motorcycle and 445 on a bicycle. 417 were pedestrians and 152 occupants of goods vehicles. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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