Preliminary data from January to August indicates that the number of fatal road traffic accidents in Finland has decreased this year. During this period, the investigating committees for traffic accidents have been called upon to examine a total of 116 fatal road traffic accidents, resulting in 123 fatalities. This represents 13 fewer accidents and 17 fewer fatalities compared to the same period last year, with the most significant reduction observed in passenger car accidents.
Between January and August, out of the total fatalities in traffic accidents, 96 individuals were in motor vehicles, 13 were pedestrians, and 14 were cyclists. These figures are based on preliminary information provided by the investigating committees for traffic accidents. Preliminary data refers to information reported immediately after on-site accident investigations. More detailed background information and data regarding these accidents are not yet available.
While the number of accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists remained relatively stable compared to the previous year, there has been a notable shift in the age groups of those who lost their lives. Fatal accidents among pedestrians and cyclists aged over 64 decreased by four accidents during January to August, compared to the same period last year. In contrast, fatalities among pedestrians and cyclists aged 46 to 64, those of working age, doubled from six accidents to twelve.
"Fatal pedestrian and cyclist accidents often involve the elderly. Older individuals may not withstand physical impacts as well as younger individuals, making them more vulnerable to falls and collisions, which frequently result in fatalities. This year, however, there have been unusually more accidents involving working-age individuals. We are closely monitoring this trend, but it is too early to draw definitive conclusions based on this year's figures as this may also be due to random variation," explains Salla Salenius, a specialist at the Accident Investigation Board (OTI).
In motor vehicle traffic, the most common type of accident between January and August was run-off-road accidents, accounting for 43 incidents. There were a total of 89 fatal motor vehicle accidents during this period, resulting in 96 fatalities. Notably, accidents involving passenger car drivers decreased by 21 compared to the same period last year.
Accidents caused by young drivers have also decreased compared to the previous year. There were 11 fewer fatal accidents caused by drivers under 25 years old during January to August than in the same period last year. By the end of August this year, there were 16 fatal accidents involving young drivers.
"Young road users' safety remains a current issue. By the end of August, fatal accidents continued to decline, but concerted safety efforts must be actively pursued toward our vision of zero road fatalities. In addition to traffic fatalities, more detailed information is needed on serious injuries to target safety measures more effectively," emphasizes Kalle Parkkari, the Director of Traffic Safety at the Accident Investigation Board (OTI).