In February 2021, 175 fatalities occurred on the roads of mainland France and 9 overseas.
|Warning: as the health crisis linked to Covid-19 has led the government to take exceptional measures to restrict travel and activities, since March 2020 the evolution of road accidents reflects the hazards linked to the measures and the way in which the French have adapted their mobility according to the periods. The curfew between 8 pm and 6 am introduced on 14 December 2020 is extended from 6 pm to 6 am from 12 January 2021 for 25 départements, and on Saturday 16 January for the whole of mainland France.
Road accident indicators have shown very atypical trends since March 2020, which are difficult to interpret. Specific insights have been provided during the quarterly dashboards since the June 2020 dashboard.
175 people were killed on the roads of mainland France in February 2021 compared with 220 in February 2020, i.e. 45 fewer people killed (-20%). This result is particularly low compared to February 2020, which was slightly below the average of the last 10 years, but also compared to the best February months (204 people were killed in February 2012 and February 2017).
Travel restrictions (curfew) and reduced home-to-work movements ( teleworking) explain a large part of the lower road accident rate: 2/3 of the fatality gain is estimated to be due to the curfew and 1/3 to the reduction in daytime travel. It seems that the traffic drop in February was less than in January: Cerema (traffic dataviz) estimates the traffic drop to be around -10% at the beginning of February 2021 compared to the beginning of February 2020, whereas the traffic drop in January 2021 was more like -15% compared to January 2020; and at the end of February the traffic drop is less than at the beginning of February. The weather conditions at the beginning of February included some snow episodes, while the end of February saw more pleasant weather conducive to travel.
The number of injury accidents recorded by the police was 3,158 in February 2021, compared to 4,046 in February 2020, i.e. 888 fewer injury accidents. This is a decrease of -22%, slightly higher than for fatalities, whereas the number of injury accidents was stable between 2019 and 2020.
3,856 people were injured in February 2021, compared with 4,996 in February 2020, i.e. 1,140 fewer people, a decrease of -23%.
Again this month, pedestrians fatalities, often sustained during the winter period when journeys are made more frequently at night, with night falling earlier, benefited from travel restrictions linked to the curfew at 6pm, which obliges French people to return to their homes during the day. Thus 23 pedestrians were killed in February 2021, 15 fewer than in February 2020 and 25 fewer than in February 2019.
On the other hand, motorcyclist fatalities, with 32 killed, were only slightly down on February 2020 but still higher than the average for the last ten years.
Fatalities in February 2021 for car users decrease by -17% compared to February 2020: it is estimated that 96 car users were killed compared to 116, i.e. 20 fewer fatalities than in February 2020. This result even represents 36 fewer people killed than in February 2019, which was close to the average for the last 10 years.
Fatalities of young people aged 18-24 and of seniors aged 65 or over are still benefiting this month from travel restrictions, with around ten fewer fatalities each compared to their respective averages over the last ten years. The drop in fatalities among young people and the elderly is notably reflected in the drop in car users fatalities, more during the day for the elderly and in the evening for the young.
Road fatalities in urban areas fell in February 2021 compared to February 2020 and previous years, while deaths in rural areas fell only slightly. On the other hand, motorway fatalities, which were particularly low last year, returned to the February 2019 level.
2021 road fatalities by mode of travel, agen and road network
Development of the number of users fatalities cumulated on a rolling 12 months
The health crisis has profoundly affected travel since March 2020, for all users, but to varying degrees according to the alternation of restrictions and authorized movements.
Car users usually account for half of all road deaths. Their fatalities over the past 12 months are estimated at 1,152 compared with 1,622 for the whole of 2019, a drop of -29% over just over a year.
Pedestrians fatalities also fell sharply over this period: an estimated 354 pedestrians died in the last 12 months compared with 483 for the whole of 2019, a drop of -27%.
These very sharp declines are to be put in relation with the sharp drop in fatalities among seniors aged 65 or over, particularly those aged 75 or over, who have severely restricted their movements during lockdowns and curfew periods, but have also probably gone on holiday much less. Seniors account for half of all pedestrian fatalities and more than a quarter of all car users fatalities each year.
The fatalities of powered two-wheeler users are also declining: the drop among motorcyclists is -22%, with 479 killed in the last 12 months compared with 615 killed in 2019, but the trend has stabilised since the beginning of 2021. On the other hand, the drop in moped fatalities is particularly marked and continues, -34% compared to 2019, with 88 moped fatalities in the last 12 months compared to 134 in 2019; a drop which no doubt reflects the measures that have curbed mobility among young people (distance learning, curfews).
Fatalities among young adults aged 18-24, at high risk of serious road accidents, have decreased by 23% in the last 12 months compared to 2019 (422 killed compared to 545 in 2019).
Compared to other trends, cyclists fatalities have declined slightly: 175 cyclists or users of personal motorized transport devices were killed in the last 12 months, i.e. -10% compared to 2019. While travel has been limited by measures related to the health crisis, the French have shown a preference for using individual modes of transport on short trips rather than public transport in cities, but have also developed leasure cycling in rural areas.
Finally, fatalities of heavy goods vehicle users are stable, as maintaining their activity remains essential for the daily life of French people and companies. However, it has been reduced by almost half in 10 years.
En February 2021,the road safety indicators for french overseas were fewer than those of February 2020:
- 209 injury accidents compared with 228 accidents ;
- 263 injured compared with 310 injured ;
- 9 fatalities compared with 19 fatalities.