Road accidents, Italy improves but remains far from “vision zero”

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Traffic has now definitively returned to pre-Covid pandemic levels, and road accidents are also rising again, while remaining below the average for the three-year period 2017-2019. This is what emerges from the preliminary estimates of Istat and Aci, according to which in the semester January-June 2021 the numbers of claims with injuries to people, injuries and deaths rose respectively by 31.3, 28.1 and 22.3 % compared to the same period of 2020. The victims were 1,239, the injured 85,647 and the accidents with injuries to people 65,116.

The peak of accidents and casualties in the spring
Italy is therefore still far from the road safety objectives set at European level, which envisaged a 50% decrease in victims for 2020 compared to the period 2017-2019: even if in our country the decade 2010-2020 ended with a reduction of 42%, the data for the first half of 2021 show a new upward trend, especially between May and June, with a peak in May.

The pandemic and the lockdowns have therefore contributed to improving the Italian situation in terms of road deaths, but with the gradual return to normality in terms of mobility, the numbers have started to rise again, in contrast to what was hoped for at European level for the achievement of “Vision zero”, or rather the elimination of victims of road accidents.

“Considering the percentage change in the number of victims in the January-June periods for the 2002-2020 time series and for the preliminary estimate January-June 2021 (compared to the 2001, 2010, 2020 benchmark years for road safety) – explain Istat and Aci – there is an almost constant decrease in the number of deaths over the last twenty years. For the new decade 2021-2030, the percentage change in victims in 2021 is equal to -19.8% compared to the reference value of the 2017-2019 average “.

Travel, 2021 is the year of “soft mobility”
The trend of the coronavirus pandemic, on the other hand, is clearly reflected in the mobility of Italians. On the main extra-urban network managed by Anas, in the first two months of 2021 there were significant decreases in traffic volumes (with peaks of -35%) compared to the previous year, when no restrictions had yet been implemented. Starting from March, in conjunction with the new total closure of the country for containment measures, the Detected Mobility Index (IMR) has had positive changes compared to 2020 and also in comparison with June 2019. On average, the value of the he index stabilizes on a 5% increase during the summer months of the current year compared to the same period in 2020.

The situation on the motorway network is similar: based on the data released by Aiscat on distances, there is a significant decrease in traffic in the months of January and February 2021 compared to the same period of 2019 and 2020 and a progressive increase starting from March , even if still 33.9% lower in comparison with 2019. The positive trend continues in the following months especially for light vehicles, given that the flow of freight traffic was not interrupted during the closing periods of 2020. motorways increased by 23.8% in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period of 2020 and decreased by 23.1% on 2019 (-29.7% for light traffic).

Another novelty is represented by the increase in “soft” mobility in Italian cities, also encouraged by the measures in the Pnnr (National Recovery and Resilience Plan) which envisage the construction, in the coming years, of 570 km of urban cycle paths and 1,250 km of tourist cycle paths. Sharing services for scooters are now numerous, 7 in Milan and 6 in Rome, with at least 7,500 and 5,000 rentals per day.

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