Spain closes 2022 with substantially more road deaths than 2021

by Lorraine Williamson
road deaths

Spain closed the year 2022 with 1,145 road deaths, an increase of 14% over the figures for 2021, when 1,004 people died. 

Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska presented the road safety stocktaking at the headquarters of the Directorate-General for Transport (DGT) on Monday. In 2022, 1042 fatal accidents took place on Spanish roads, killing 1145 people and seriously injuring 4008. 

The minister compared the figures for 2022 with those for 2019, the first pre-pandemic year without mobility restrictions. He stressed that the figures for 2022 represent 44 more deaths, 4% more, and 425 fewer seriously injured, 10% less, than in 2019. ‘Three deaths a day is a figure that should give us pause for thought and encourage us to continue our work with the sole aim of reducing this unacceptable toll,’ he added. 

Increased mobility and larger vehicle fleet 

Last year, 439.8 million long-distance road movements were recorded, which is 3% more than in 2019 (427.1 million). The vehicle fleet also increased by 3.6% compared to 2019 to 35.6 million vehicles. The number of drivers increased by 0.82% to 27.5 million.  

Deadliest roads 

Conventional roads – where maximum 90 km per hour can be driven – saw the most traffic fatalities. Compared to 2019, the number of deaths on conventional roads increased by 5% more than on motorways and dual carriageways, an increase of 3%. 

In 2022, a total of 833 people were killed in road accidents on conventional roads, 73% of the total, and 312 on motorways and dual carriageways, 27%. Thus, of every four fatalities, three occurred on ordinary roads and one on motorways and dual carriageways. 

In terms of accident type, road accidents accounted for almost half of the fatalities, 42% of the total. The number of deaths in this type of accident increased by 13% compared to 2019.  

Fewer motorcyclists killed, more pedestrians 

Depending on the type of user, the trend has changed compared to recent years, with a 5% drop in vulnerable road deaths in 2022 and a 10% increase in passenger car deaths. A total of 422 vulnerable road users were killed, 22 fewer than in 2019. The number of motorbike fatalities fell to 251, 35 fewer than in 2019. 

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Pedestrian fatalities actually increased from 118 in 2019 to 126 in 2022. This means that one in 10 road fatalities is a pedestrian. More than half of these occurred on motorways and dual carriageways (58, five more than in 2019). More than three in 10 pedestrians killed on these roads were killed while exiting the vehicle; and eight of the 126 pedestrians killed were wearing reflective clothing. 


When it comes to cyclists, the number of fatalities also increased. A total of 44 cyclists were killed, four more than in 2019. 

On assessing this break in the trend in recent years, with a decrease in deaths among vulnerable users but an increase in deaths in passenger cars, Marlaska said they will “evaluate” this and “work well with” traffic experts. For example, more people are known to be driving without seatbelts on. But, the minister stressed, “it is too early” to make a more concrete assessment.  

Deaths by age group 

By age group, the biggest fall in deaths occurred in the 25-34 age group, with an 11% drop. This was followed by the 45-54 age group, with a 9% decrease. The age group with the biggest increase is 55-64 years, with 197 fatalities, 23% more than in 2019 (160). 

Week versus weekend 

Last year, 56% of fatalities were recorded on weekdays (641 fatalities), days when mobility also increased more strongly (more than 4%). Moreover, 142 people in cars and vans (25%) were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the accident, and nine cyclists and five motorcyclists were not wearing helmets. 

Autonomous community 

By autonomous community, deaths increased in the following areas;

  • Castilla y León (40 more)
  • Andalucia (25 more)
  • Castilla-La Mancha (15 more)
  • Región de Murcia (9 more)
  • Aragón (7 more)
  • Navarra (5 more)
  • Cantabria (4 more)
  • Galicia (1 more)
  • Canary Islands (1 more)

Fewer road deaths occurred in the following areas;

  • Community of Madrid (20 fewer)
  • Catalonia (18 fewer)
  • Basque Country (13 fewer)
  • La Rioja (6 fewer)
  • Extremadura (6 fewer)
  • Community of Valencia (1 fewer)
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