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‘On the road again’: The recipe for safer roads

For the third year in a row, Norway tops the ranking as the country in the world with least fatal traffic accidents. How can the global traffic safety become even safer? New technologies, regulated speed limits and better cooperation between police and road authorities may be a part Norway’s success.

106 people died on Norwegian roads in 2017. Although the ideal number would be zero, Norway is the country in the world with lowest number of traffic deaths per million inhabitants. According to a new report from European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), Norway also had a significant reduction of fatal traffic accidents since last year.

While Norwegian traffic safety points in a positive direction, numbers from Europe shows that there are big variations in traffic safety between European countries. Norway has 20 deaths per million inhabitants, and countries such as Sweden (25), Great Britain (27), and Denmark (31) also shows a positive development in traffic safety. On the other hand, dark statistics from Romania (98), Bulgaria (96), Serbia (82) and Croatia (80), show that there is a long way to go.

All in all; European roads are safer than in many other parts in the world. The global average of traffic fatalities is 174 per million inhabitants, a number that is much higher than it should be. Therefore, many people want to know the secret behind Norway’s traffic safety.

Guro Ranes, department director of Road Safety in Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens vegvesen), explains that Statens vegvesen is the main organ responsible for the country’s traffic safety – including everything from the road network to the drivers’ training. In addition, Norwegian police, health authorities and others cooperate very well with each other. The cars on Norwegian roads are of high quality, and more people buy vehicles with traffic-safe measures such as automatic slow-downs in danger of accidents. In addition, and probably a very important factor, Norwegians tend to keep their speed limit!