Decrease in road traffic deaths caused by reckless risk-taking

Press release, 28 December 2015

The Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre
The Traffic Safety Committee of Insurance Companies (VALT)

The number of fatal accidents caused by recklessly taking risks was exceptionally low in 2014. There were one third fewer cases in which driving under the influence of alcohol, speeding and neglecting the use of safety belts were all contributing factors than in the previous year.

"The statistics for 2014 show that drivers can themselves have a significant effect on road traffic-related fatalities. Using safety belts and avoiding driving under the influence would save dozens of lives every year. Fortunately, we are heading in a better direction in this respect," says Tapio Koisaari, Liaison Officer at the Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre.

Alcohol-related accidents accounted for 17% of fatal road traffic accidents in 2014, a decrease of 11 percentage points from the previous year. On the other hand, accidents caused while under the influence of narcotics increased from 6% to 9%.

The number of fatal road traffic accidents decreased by 17%

Road accident investigation teams investigated a total of 221 fatal accidents in 2014. In 2014, 183 people died in road traffic. The number of accidents decreased by 17%.

In particular, the favourable trend could be seen in a decrease in the number of collisions involving motor vehicles. The number of collisions caused by passenger cars and vans was 26% lower than in 2013. In addition, the percentage of accidents caused by vehicle handling errors decreased from the previous year's 38% to 20%.

The decrease in traffic accidents in the above-mentioned groups, on the other hand, was seen as in increase in the percentage of accidents caused by sudden illness and intentional accidents (a combined 38%).

"The number of fatal road accidents caused by sudden illness is slowly increasing. The development of the situation has to be monitored and any measures to improve driving health investigated," emphasises traffic safety director Kalle Parkkari.

A total of 59 pedestrians and cyclists died in traffic in 2014, two people more than the average. The overall situation is slowly becoming worse for pedestrians and cyclists.

"There are no shortcuts to improving the safety of pedestrian and bicycle traffic, but all people can do their own part. Drivers of motor vehicles should be aware that annually some 70% of cases of pedestrians and cyclists being run over are due to the driver being distracted, so it is important to pay attention. It would be useful for pedestrians and cyclists to learn traffic rules and follow them better. Society's task, on the other hand, is to improve the infrastructure of pedestrian and bicycle traffic, such as bicycle lanes," Koisaari says.


Additional information:

Annual report of road accident investigation teams on fatal road traffic accidents in 2014 (summary in English)

  • Kalle Parkkari, Traffic Safety Director, tel. +358 50 306 9884
  • Tapio Koisaari, Liaison Manager, tel. +358 40 450 4782
  • Communication, tel. +358 40 450 4700