There are over 18,000 vehicles for each square kilometre of road in Malta, according to newly-released NSO data.

Excluding commercial or industrial vehicles, Malta has a staggering 13,700 passenger cars for each square kilometre of road, continuing an upward trend that has been recorded since 2016.

Malta's transport statistics for 2021 show that a total of 21,000 new or used vehicles were registered in Malta throughout the year, bringing the total number of vehicles in the country up to 413,019.

Meanwhile, just over 9,500 people passed their driving test and received a driving licence in 2021, suggesting that Malta has 2.2 new cars for every newly-licensed driver.

In total, Malta has 1,517 motor vehicles for every 1,000 licensed drivers.

Almost 10,000 new drivers

In total, almost 10,000 new driving licenses were issued in 2021, with almost two-thirds being in category B licenses, most commonly used for passenger cars. The number of new licenses increased by almost a third over 2020, a year characterised by low transport figures due to the impact of the pandemic.

The number of people holding a driving licence increased by over 6,000 between 2020 and 2021 to reach a total of 272,333, with almost 100,000 of them being between the ages of 40 and 59

More broadly, the statistics show that each household has an average of 1.5 passenger cars. Three-quarters of all vehicles in Malta are passenger cars, which now total over 313,000 in Malta and Gozo.

The total number of licensed vehicles has risen to over 413,000, an increase of approximately 29 vehicles per day. This has increased steadily over the past years, with the overall number of vehicles increasing by almost one-fifth since the beginning of 2016.

Electric vehicles still negligible

Just under 60% of all motor vehicles have petrol engines, with only 3% of all vehicles not being powered by either petrol or diesel engines.

Recent Eurostat data found that the uptake of electric vehicles in Malta is lagging behind the rest of Europe, with Malta third from bottom in Europe in terms of the growth of electric passenger vehicles on the road.

Nonetheless, the uptake of electric or hybrid vehicles increased by some 61% over 2020, with the number of electric vehicles on the road rising to almost 5,000.

Public transport usage still far below 2019 levels

While the number of public transport commuters increased by 4% to reach over 35 million passengers in 2021, this is still some way off the 57.4 million passengers that used the service in 2019, the last recorded pre-pandemic year.

Aside from 2020, this is the lowest recorded use of public transport since 2016.

In general, public transport usage was at its highest throughout the summer months, reaching its peak during October, when almost 3.7m passenger trips were made.

Traffic accidents on the decrease

The overall number of traffic accidents decreased from 15,800 in 2019 to just over 14,000 in 2021, with the most common accident spot being Birkirkara.

Almost one out of every ten accidents involved some form of injury, with over 1,500 people suffering an injury because of a traffic accident and a further nine being killed.

In total there were 52 traffic accidents for every 1,000 licenced drivers, a slight decrease over previous years, except 2020.

Things would take a turn for the worse the following year, with 2022 seeing a tragic 26 road deaths, becoming the deadliest year on record.

Contraventions almost doubled since 2019

An average of 238 transport-related contraventions per day were issued by the police in 2021.

This is a marked increase over 2019 when only 189,000 contraventions were issued.

Over 45,000 fines were issued for over-speeding, with over 8,400 contraventions recorded by the speed camera in Triq Dun Karm in Birkirkara alone.

In total, the government is expected to receive over €1.8m in income from over-speeding contraventions, together with a further €480,000 for other violations caught by Transport Malta, including licence or insurance irregularities, running a red light or driving in a priority lane.

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