Press release: 12.517-108/21

Fewer deaths and injuries in road accidents in 2020; inappropriate speed number one cause of fatal accidents

Vienna, 2021-05-12 – Due to the lower traffic volume during the corona-related lockdowns from March to May and in November and December 2020, road traffic accidents with personal injury in Austria decreased significantly: 38 074 people were injured or killed in road traffic accidents in 2020, according to Statistics Austria. This represents a decrease of 16% or 7 482 people compared to 2019 (45 556).

Lockdowns had a significant influence on the occurrence of accidents

The number of injuries and fatalities fell significantly, especially during the "hard" lockdowns: Between 16 March and 26 April 2020, the number of casualties and fatalities fell by 61% compared to the average value for the same period of the past three years; between 16 November and 6 December 2020, the number of casualties fell by 47%. Also during the "light" lockdowns – in April/May as well as in November/December – the number of people involved in accidents decreased significantly, namely by about 30% (27.4.–31.5.: -32%; 2.11.–15.11.: -29%, 7.12.–27.12.: -28%). In contrast, in August and September 2020 (calendar weeks 32 to 39), there was an increase of 6% in injuries and fatalities compared to the average value of the years 2017 to 2019 (see chart).

Inappropriate speed was the main cause of fatal accidents in 2020

A total of 344 people were fatally injured in road accidents in 2020 (see table 1). The number of fatalities decreased by 17% compared to the previous year and was significantly below 400 for the first time. The main cause of fatal road accidents in 2020 was inappropriate speed, which killed 110 people (2019: 103, 2018: 98). This is 32% of all fatally injured people, which is significantly higher than in 2018 (24%) and 2019 (25%). Between 16 March and 31 May 2020, the proportion even rose to 39% (mean 2017–2019: 25%), 23 people were fatally injured during this period caused by inappropriate speed.

Highest number of single-vehicle accidents in the last 30 years

139 people died in single-vehicle accidents on Austria's roads in 2020. This means that in 40% of all fatalities no other road user was involved in the accident apart from possible passengers. In general, the share of single-vehicle accidents also increased in 2020, namely by 5 percentage points to a share of 36% of the total accidents (2019: 31%), reaching the highest value in almost 30 years. While the proportion of cars in single-vehicle accidents halved from 62% to 30% during this period, the proportion of bicycles tripled from 11% to 39%. In 2020, the proportion of bicycle accidents in single-vehicle accidents rose by 8 percentage points (2019: 31%). For the first time, bicycles are the dominant mode of transport in single-vehicle accidents.

Never before so many injured cyclists

For almost all road users, a decrease in the number of injured or fatally injured persons was recorded in 2020. Only the number of injured or fatally injured cyclists rose in 2020, by 14% (see table 2). This corresponds to an increase of three injured or fatally injured cyclists per day. In the last 30 years, there were never as many cyclists injured as in 2020.

For more detailed results and further information concerning statistics of road traffic accidents please refer to our website or the German version.

Information on methods, definitions: The road traffic accidents with personal injury are electronically recorded by the police and transmitted to Statistics Austria via a web service. 
Injury accident: any accident involving at least one road vehicle in motion on a public road, resulting in at least one injured or killed person.  
Person killed: any person killed immediately or dying within 30 days as a result of an injury accident.

Casualties (injured or fatally injured people) in road traffic accidents, 2017-2020 (calendar weeks)

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Table 1: Road traffic accidents and casualties (injuries or fatalities), 2016–2020
Road traffic accidents and casualties20162017201820192020Changes 2019 to 2020 in %
  Accidents38 46637 40236 84635 73630 670-14.2
  Casualties48 82547 67246 93445 55638 074-16.4
  thereof injuries48 39347 25846 52545 14037 730-16.4
   fatalities432414409416344-17.3
Table 2: Casualties (injuries or fatalities) by mode of transport, 2020
Casualties
PedestrianBicycle 1)MopedMotorcycleCarTruck 2)Other transport modeTotal
Casualties2 6619 3483 1653 62717 1899821 10238 074
   Changes 2019 to 2020 
   in %
-27.0+14.5-15.9-12.7-25.7-15.9-28.1-16.4
thereof  injuries2 6109 3083 1613 55317 0439621 09337 730
   Changes 2019 to 2020 
   in %
-27.0+14.4-15.8-12.8-25.7-16.7-28.0-16.4
fatalities 5140474146209344
   Changes 2019 to 2020 
   in %
-26.1+21.2-60.0-6.3-27.0+66.7-30.8-17.3

For further inquiries please contact Directorate Social Statistics, Statistics Austria:  
Eveline PFEILER, Tel.: +43 1 71128-7223 resp. eveline.pfeiler@statistik.gv.at and 
Brigitte ALLEX, Tel.: +43 1 71128-7553 resp. brigitte.allex@statistik.gv.at

Media owner, producer and publisher: 
STATISTICS AUSTRIA, Federal Institution under Public Law 
1110 Vienna, Austria, Guglgasse 13, Tel.: +43 1 71128-7777 
presse@statistik.gv.at  
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