Cutbacks in police enforcement could have led to the recent rise in European road deaths, according to a report from the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC).

Road deaths in Europe decreased dramatically from 2010 onwards but in 2014 and 2015 there was a small but significant increase in fatalities. In Germany, for instance, road deaths increased by almost 3% and 1st quarter 2016 figures also revealed an increase.

The ETSC report on enforcement found a correlation between the number of speeding tickets issued and the level of road deaths. Since 2010, fewer speeding tickets have been issued in Sweden, The Netherlands and Finland and these countries have also seen some of the biggest slowdowns in reducing road deaths. In the UK, where deaths have also been reducing more slowly, according to the report, the number of speeding tickets fell after 2010 as a result of government cutbacks, although ticket issues are now increasing.

Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of the European Transport Safety Council, said: ‘Cuts to police enforcement are doubly damaging. Fewer dangerous drivers are caught and overall perception of the risk of being caught also decreases. It makes no sense to cut back on road safety: 26,000 are still dying each year on our roads and the numbers will not start to decrease again without concerted action.’