More than 225.000 people were killed in traffic accidents on roads outside urban areas (hereinafter “ROU areas”), in 17 European Union countries between 2000 and 2009, representing 55% of all traffic accident fatalities in those countries. The objective of this research is the analysis of road safety related characteristics of road accidents outside urban areas in European countries through the use of the EU CARE database with disaggregated data on road accidents, as well as of other international data sources (Eurostat, OECD/IRTAD, etc.). Time-series data from 17 EU countries over a period of 10 year (2000-2009) are correlated with basic safety parameters such as mode of transport, presence of junction, lighting and road surface conditions, person class and person characteristics like age and gender. During this period an overall decrease of almost 40% in traffic accident fatalities outside urban areas was observed, with values ranging between a decrease of 64% in Portugal and an increase by 122% in Romania. The results of the analysis allow for an overall assessment of the road safety level in European rural areas also in comparison to the urban areas, providing thus useful support to decision makers working for the improvement of safety in the European road network.