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Safe road design can save Europe US$70 billion a year

Publication date: 08 June 2009

Europe can cut its toll of road deaths and serious injuries by a third, simply by investing in better road design, saving 150 lives and serious injuries a day and Europe’s economy US$70 billion (Euro 50 billion) a year. According to the new European Campaign for Safe Road Design, launched today (June 4, 2009) at the FIA EuroCouncil in Copenhagen, a third of Europe’s serious injuries or fatalities on the roads are preventable over the next 10 years.

All it takes, according to the European Campaign for Safe Road Design, is a modest investment in simple safety engineering – primarily in safe road and junction layouts and equipment such as safety barriers. In the past 10 years, two million people have been killed or seriously injured in road-safe crashes in the countries of the European Union alone. The financial cost of road crashes is 2% of European GDP annually – more than the amount each of Europe’s nations typically spends on primary schools or doctors.

The European Campaign for Safe Road Design says that the annual toll of 200,000 deaths and serious injuries a year will continue if effective action is not taken on safe road design, particularly on roads outside major towns, where two-thirds of European road deaths occur. Deaths are concentrated on main national or regional roads which can be easily targeted.

“A safe road system needs road users who obey traffic law, manufacturers who provide safe vehicles and authorities who provide safe roads. European traffic law has been tightening up driver behavior,” says chairman of the campaign, John Dawson. “As the European Commission consults on its road safety strategy beyond 2010, at the center of discussions must be the delivery of safe roads. We don’t need new laws. We need effective large-scale action on what we know works. People don’t need to die routinely, just because roads are missing simple safety features."

Source: Traffic Technology Today

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