Today, Lithuania was acknowledged with the most important European road safety award — in recognition of major improvements in road safety over the last decade, the country won the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) PIN Award. Out of the European countries assessed by the organisation, Lithuania was the only European Union country to halve road deaths between 2011 and 2021.
“I welcome and feel very pleased with the fact that Lithuania received this exceptional award for its achievements in improving road safety. Lithuania has earned it thanks to the consistent work of many people and institutions. We managed to reduce the number of road deaths over the last decade by 51% — this is a great achievement by all of us. Although we have made significant progress, unfortunately, there are still too many road deaths, but we are going in the right direction, and we have to keep it up,” said Minister of Transport and Communications Marius Skuodis.
Last year, there were 147 road deaths in Lithuania, which is 51% less than in 2011, when we lost almost 300 road users. Among non-EU European countries assessed by ETSC, only Norway did better with a reduction of 52%.
In 2010, the European Commission (EC) delegated ETSC to organise award ceremonies for countries with significant achievements in reducing the number of road deaths. For this purpose, ETSC and EC organise an annual conference, where the progress of EU countries in ensuring traffic safety is presented. The country with the highest results receives the PIN Award, which is presented by the EC Commissioner for Transport and the Head of ETSC.
“20,000 people die each year on our roads, and getting these numbers down will take hard work, political will and investment. Lithuania is a great example of a country that is tackling the problem on multiple fronts: strategic planning, drink-driving, speed, infrastructure and enforcement – this award is well deserved,” said Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of ETSC, congratulating Lithuania for the award.
The ETSC experts also assessed other important achievements of Lithuania over the last decade in the decision to award this year’s prize to the country. This includes the long-term national road safety programme with a target of further reducing deaths by 50% by 2030, with Vision Zero by 2050; average speed cameras introduced in almost 100 road sections since 2018 and around 400 fixed speed cameras; an alcohol-interlock programme for drink-driving offenders, as an alternative to a driving ban — in operation since 2019; zero-tolerance blood alcohol concentration limits for professional and novice drivers, and 0.4 g/l for all others.
The assessment also recognised the in-depth collision investigation of all fatal vehicle crashes since 2019; the nationwide programme since 2018 to audit pedestrian crossings and improve the level of safety; the substantial increase in cycling infrastructure in Vilnius, from 40 km in 2015, to a target of 160 km by 2023, and the development of a new traffic collision information system designed to better capture accurate road death and injury statistics, incorporating data from hospitals.
At the remote award ceremony in Brussels, the Ministry of Transport of Communications introduced its current activities and targets in traffic safety. Last year, more than 1,000 traffic safety measures were implemented: reconstruction of dangerous crossings, construction of roundabouts, improvement of infrastructure for the most vulnerable road users, better road and street lighting, construction of safety islands, implementation of means for speed reduction and engineering traffic safety measures, improvement of safety on roadsides. The number of speed cameras is constantly being increased, infrastructure improvements are rapidly reducing the number of black spots on roads. Traffic safety is ensured using an integrated approach — by safe driving, safer vehicles, increasing the safety of the infrastructure, carrying out educational activities, analysing the causes of traffic accidents.
Minister of Transport and Communications M. Skuodis thanked for this award to all those who contributed to the improvement of traffic safety — staff of state institutions, officers of the Police and Lithuanian Transport Safety Administration, road workers for the implementation of traffic safety improvement measures on roads and urban streets, educational institutions, municipalities, employees of the Transport Competences Agency who carried out important studies, and every driver for raising the level of driving culture.
This is the second PIN Award that Lithuania has received. In 2011, the country earned this award for halving road deaths between 2001 and 2011. In 2019, ETSC acknowledged Lithuania as an absolute leader in the EU in terms of reducing road deaths between 2001 and 2018.
The Road Safety Performance Index (PIN) programme implemented by the European Transport Safety Council includes 27 EU countries and the United Kingdom, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and Israel. For more information, see the PIN report for 2022 here: www.etsc.eu/pin16