More than half of driver fatalities caused by single-vehicle collisions, study shows

More than half of road deaths among car drivers occur in single-vehicle incidents, according to analysis by traffic safety institute Vias.

In Belgium, almost one in five crashes resulting in at least one death or injury involves a single vehicle, but these collisions are “particularly deadly”, Vias says. They account for 37 per cent of all road user deaths, and 53 per cent of car driver fatalities. The Vias study was based on 10 years of accident data up to 2022 and the results were published on Thursday.

Unilateral accidents are more common in areas with less traffic. In Wallonia, there are 70 municipalities where more than 40 per cent of all injury-causing accidents involve a single vehicle. In Flanders, the proportion is generally below 30 per cent, while in Brussels it drops below 15 per cent. 

Densely populated municipalities are characterised by many types of road users, making collisions between car drivers and others more frequent.

"Accidents involving only one road user are often among the most serious and deadly"

“Despite the initiatives under the All For Zero plan and the encouraging initial results, there are still too many casualties on the roads in Belgium,” said federal Mobility minister Georges Gilkinet, of francophone green party Ecolo. “Accidents involving only one road user are often among the most serious and deadly. We must therefore continue to fight the factors that lead to accidents.”

Single-vehicle accidents are an important issue in road safety policy, particularly because of their severity, Vias says. 

"A human factor is often at the root of these accidents, and by taking general measures against dangerous behaviour such as speeding, drink-driving or fatigue behind the wheel, we can also reduce the number of unilateral accidents," it said. 

"Particular attention should also be paid to road infrastructure and possible obstacles, as these can exacerbate the consequences of unilateral accidents."


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