The European Transport Safety Council is putting forward ambitious targets to reduce road deaths and serious injuries in the EU by 40 per cent between 2010 and 2020. Ellen Townsend, the Council’s policy director, explains further
The European Commission is expected to publish its fourth Road Safety Action Programme (RSAP) this spring. The new Transport Commissioner Designate Mr Kallas stated at his hearing in the European Parliament on January 14 that the new Road Safety Action Programme is one of his priorities.
There has been a 28 per cent reduction in European road deaths between 2001 and 2008. If current trends continue road deaths are likely to fall by a third in 2010. The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) stresses that the adoption of the target by the EU in 2001 to halve road deaths was essential in bringing about this progress. The opportunity to further reduce this by 2020 should not be missed.
Blueprint for action
In light of this ETSC launched its ‘Blueprint for the EU’s fourth Road Safety Action Programme 2010-2020.’ In it ETSC proposes to reduce road deaths and, for the first time, serious injuries by 40 per cent between 2010 and 2020. The challenging but achievable targets for reducing road deaths and serious injuries by 2020 are based on expert analyses of past trends in numbers of deaths as well as estimated capacity for further improvement.
Targets that are based on a comprehensive road safety vision communicate the importance of road safety, motivate stakeholders to act and help stakeholders responsible for the road transport system being accountable for achieving defined results. Targets also indicate that political will is there to make improvements in road safety.
ETSC’s Blueprint for a fourth Road Safety Action Programme proposed a number of new measures focusing on well-known risk areas such as speed, drink and drug driving, and non seat and child restraint use. Other possible avenues include the application of new life saving technologies, such as intelligent speed assistance or the introduction of improved post accident care with eCall. These and many other measures included in the ETSC’s Blueprint, if implemented extensively, will allow the EU to achieve new targets in the future.
Setting targets for road safety to reduce death is basic and fits in with being part of the mainstream. In November transport ministers, the European Transport Safety Council and other NGO representatives from over 40 countries met at the first U.N. Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Moscow, Russia. The U.N. Conference represented a historical landmark for countries to join forces in tackling the problems of road safety globally. The WHO predicts that road traffic injuries will rise to become the fifth leading cause of death by 2030. Every year 1.2 million people are killed and 20 to 50 million injured in road crashes around the world. In the WHO European Region alone, 120,000 people are killed and 2.4 million injured in road collisions each year.
Ministers from across the world adopted a resolution that called upon member states to develop action plans and strategies in road safety including ambitious and measurable targets. National crash data systems are also in need of improvement. Countries are encouraged to build capacity of the lead agency for road safety and focus measures on addressing main risk factors including excessive speed, drink driving, non use of seat belts and helmets. Funding is also a top priority and member states should develop sustainable mechanisms for financing the implementation of national road safety programmes.
Driving for work
It is estimated that 40 per cent of all road crashes involve people ‘on duty’ and people driving to and from work (OSHA). Another important area ETSC would like to see European progress on in the next decade is road safety at work. Apart from freight transport, ‘mobile working’ where the car becomes a de facto office is also an increasing trend. One effective measure that the EU should promote is that companies should all prepare their own road safety plans. The starting point should be an evaluation of the road safety impact on the company, including the burden of road collision and injuries.
In Europe a large proportion of new cars are purchased by non-private customers including companies. In its new report on In Vehicle Technology ETSC stressed that they can also play a role in supporting the development of the market for safe cars by including safety criteria in their vehicle purchase and leasing policies. Employers managing fleets should purchase vehicles with the highest Euro NCAP rating possible. According to a study the risk of severe or fatal injuries is reduced by approximately 12 per cent for each Euro NCAP star rating.
In the next decade and as part of the new European Action Programme the EU should work to promote the new ISO international standard for road safety management among companies. The new standard will consist of instructions on how to create a continual improvement in road safety work. Any player with an influence on road safety should be able to use the standard as a complementary guidance in its efforts of contributing to safe road traffic. A proposal for the new ISO-standard can be expected this year. Companies should be encouraged to adopt the new ISO international standard for road safety management as soon as it is ready.
About the ETSC
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) is a Brussels-based independent non-profit making organisation dedicated to the reduction of the number and severity of transport crashes in Europe. The ETSC seeks to identify and promote research-based measures with a high safety potential. It brings together 43 national and international organisations concerned with transport safety from across Europe. See www.etsc.eu
The PRAISE Award
ETSC is searching for entrants who can show what they have achieved through their efforts to reduce road collisions at work. The PRAISE Award will be presented at the PRAISE Brunch in May to one employer identified for taking on the road safety challenge responsibly. The deadline for entries is 1 April. More information and application form on www.etsc.eu/PRAISE-award.php