In 2021 there were 921 fatal accidents on Spanish roads in which 1,004 people died and another 3,728 were seriously injured. These figures represent 97 fewer deaths (-9%) than in 2019 (reference year) and the second best year in the historical series, only behind 2020, the year in which 870 people died but this is a distorted statistic for the pandemic.
The Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, has indicated in the presentation of these data that “the balance of road accidents in 2021 indicates that we have maintained the positive trend of reduction in accidents that we have experienced in the last decade, but we must add that the assessment cannot be positive because 1,004 deaths on the road last year are too many “.
Grande-Marlaska has presented the provisional balance of road accidents 2021 referring to accidents that occurred on interurban roads with deaths at the time of the accident or in the following 24 hours. The minister has been accompanied by the general director of Traffic, Pere Navarro; the head of the Guardia Civil Traffic Group, General José Ignacio Criado, and the prosecutor of the Road Safety Chamber, Bartolomé Vargas.
The number of 3,728 seriously injured as a result of a road accident has also been reduced by 705 people, 16% less than that registered in 2019 (4,433).
As far as mobility is concerned, during the past year 393.7 million long-distance movements by road were registered, which is 8% less than those made in 2019 (427.1 million) and 23% more compared to 2020.
This decrease in mobility has occurred in light vehicles (-10%) and mainly on weekends (-15%). On the other hand, heavy vehicle traffic has been higher (+ 3%) than that registered in 2019.
The fleet of vehicles has increased by 2% compared to 2019, reaching 33.2 million vehicles and the census of drivers remains the same as in 2019, with 27.3 million drivers.
By periods of the year, the decreases in mortality (-9%) and mobility (-8%) have not had a homogeneous behaviour throughout the year.
The year began with significant decreases in both mobility and accidents, due to the fact that until 8 May there was a state of alarm, a period in which mobility restrictions were established. From that moment on, there has been a recovery in displacements, so that in summer there was practically the same mobility and it is from September that increases are observed, even exceeding the displacements registered in the same period of 2019.
Regarding the accident rate, May and June, the months immediately after the state of alarm came out, were negative: mobility had not yet recovered, but fatal accidents had.
In June 2021, 116 deaths were registered, 38 more than in 2019, thus becoming the month with the most deaths of all last year. The summer ended with levels of mobility very similar to 2019 and a reduction in deaths of 12%. The third four-month period, with greater mobility, the deceased decreased by 10%.
By type of road. Compared to 2019, deaths on conventional roads decreased more with -9% than on motorways with -8%.
Specifically, 723 people died in traffic accidents that took place on conventional roads (72%) and 281 on motorways (28%), so that the ratio of every 4 deaths remains stable, 3 are on conventional roads and 1 on the motorways.
By type of accident. Compared to 2019, deaths in frontal collisions decreased by 22% and deaths in road exits by 7%, even so, these continue to be the most frequent type of accident with 39% of deaths.
By type of user. 38% of the deceased were vulnerable users, that is, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and users of personal mobility vehicles. Specifically, there have been 383 deaths, 61 less than the 444 in 2019.
Regarding the number of pedestrians who died (110), 59 were on the motorway and 51 on conventional roads. Among those killed on high-occupancy roads, 19 were drivers or occupants who had gotten out of the vehicle and 23 were pedestrians walking or crossing.
There is 1 deceased in a personal mobility vehicle, despite the fact that they are prohibited from driving on interurban roads.
By age. The greatest decrease by age group occurs in the group over 65 years with -25%.
The accident rate of young people between 15 and 24 years of age increases, from 112 deaths in 2019 to 138 in 2021.
By day of the week. The greater recovery in mobility on weekdays is reflected in the accident data, which despite the decline in deaths, is greater on weekends (-17%) than on weekdays (-1%).
Safety accessories. 140 people traveling in cars and vans (26%) were not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. Eight cyclists and 10 motorists did not use helmets either.
By autonomous communities. Deaths decrease in all autonomous communities, except in Castilla La Mancha (+17), Illes Balears (+10); Andalusia (+12); Cantabria (+4) and Comunidad Foral de Navarra (+3). Catalonia (-40) and Community of Madrid (-25) are the ones with the greatest reductions.
The figures are provisional and refer only to fatal accidents that occurred on interurban roads and victims registered up to 24 hours after the accident occurred. The definitive figures already consolidated, which will include the victims within 30 days of accidents that have occurred on urban and interurban roads, will allow a complete X-ray of road accidents in Spain.