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EC Consultation on European Roadsafety Action Programme


Publication date: 04 December 2009


1. GENERAL INFORMATION

Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile Eurocouncil
Organisation type - select one Associations/non-governmental organisations

Personal perception of the situation on the roads in your country: Do you think that, in general, traffic in your country has become safer or less safe than 10 years ago for/on ?

Safer

Why?
In 2008 the decrease of road fatalities amounts to 35% in the EU 15, but only 27% in EU 27 compared to 2001. FIA European Bureau welcomes the significant progress made by the European Union towards halving the number of road fatalities by 2010. This target – considered ambitious for EU 15 – was kept following the enlargement to 27 Member States. While this goal was unlikely to be met in an enlarged Europe, it contributed to noticeable improvements in road safety. It is very encouraging that, in spite of increasing car mobility, fatalities are not increasing and even diminishing in a large majority of Member States.

2. THE SCOPE OF THE NEXT EUROPEAN ROAD SAFETY ACTION PROGRAMME
Citizens and businesses expect safe, sustainable mobility across the European Union.Improvements in road safety are an essential element in public  policy to produce improvement in the health and well-being of citizens and reductions in the high socio-economic costs of road traffic injuries.

 

What are the main problems and issues at stake in road safety?
Road safety performance and societal costs involved:

  • Numbers of death and serious injury
  • Level of societal impact of death and long-term injury

Comment
A lot remains to be done to improve road safety in Europe. If the global trend shows a clear decline in the number of fatalities and serious injuries, some road user categories such as motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians are still disproportionately at risk. Shared responsibility should be further promoted, in order to fully deploy the potential. Experience shows that strong political leadership is necessary to bring about drastic changes. Decision makers at all governance levels should be encouraged to accompany short and long term legislative changes with massive information campaigns. FIA Clubs therefore call for the involvement of authorities and personalities at the highest regional, national and European level: they should get actively involved in the improvement of the regulatory framework and personally engage for ambitious road safety targets. FIA Clubs expressly welcome the new rationale, according to which both improved driving and social skills are needed to educate tomorrow’s safe drivers. The 4th European Road Safety Action Plan gives a unique opportunity to look back at the progress made and call for ever more ambitious road safety actions. In our view, the future EU strategy should be based on high level commitment, strong leadership, clear objectives and precise targets. We therefore believe that the future roadmap to 2020 should aim for a 40% reduction target for deaths. The risk of being killed however significantly differs throughout the European Union. In 2008, the risk rate of high risk countries was up to four times that of low risk countries. Taking into account the different road safety risk rates we propose to set differentiated fatality reduction targets for 2020, based on the 2010 figures, aiming at a convergence of road safety in Europe.

Road safety problems linked with category of road users

  • Young novice drivers
  • Powered two-wheeler users

Comment
The driving performances of powered two wheelers (mopeds, scooters and motorcycles) considerably improved in recent years, because of the installation of devices such as anti-lock braking systems (ABS). ABS shows the highest accident avoidance and accident mitigation potential of all driver assistance systems. In 2006, approximately 6,200 powered two wheeler (PTW) riders were killed in road accidents within the EU 25. They represent 16% of the total number of road fatalities. Moreover, while the number of road fatalities considerably declined in the past decade, the number of PTW users killed rose in 13 out of 27 Member States. For the same distance travelled, the risk for a PTW rider to be killed in a road accident is on average 18 times higher than for a car occupant. An increasing number of commuters opt for PTW due to rising congestion and economic considerations. This brings road safety new challenges since most of them are inexperienced moped, scooter or motorcycle riders.

The impact of societal changes

  • Ageing of society & Lifestyle change

Comment
The fact that we live longer and healthier lives brings about a number of challenges and opportunities. These changes will lead to a significant increase of older citizens in traffic. Road safety policy should therefore take into account the specific needs of an ageing population. This includes intelligent transport systems, adapted vehicles and infrastructure, awareness raising and education as well as qualitative public transport.

Which, in your view, are the most important countermeasures amongst infrastructure, road user (training, education, rehabilitation, enforcement) vehicle safety measures?

Infrastructure

  • Road classification - appropriate match between
  • function, speed limit, design, layout
  • Safety impact assessment of land use planning and
  • road infrastructure
  • Implementation of safety audit and safety inspection
  • Facilities for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Facilities for powered two wheelers
  • Design of roadsides and roadside furniture

Comment
The design of the road and roadside is thought to play a role in as many as one in three accidents. An analysis of national road safety strategies shows that road infrastructure improvements could deliver greater fatalities reduction than improvements in vehicle design and driver behaviour. Much of this potential has been neglected up to now. Accident research shows that, according to the location, crashes are often predictable and preventable. The main obstacles to more safety are not only linked to financial constraints, but also to a general lack of awareness. To be safest, roads must be “functional” (matching design and use), “homogeneous” (avoiding significant differences in speeds, driving directions and vehicle mass), “selfexplaining” (reducing the likelihood of an accident occurring) and “forgiving” (providing protection when an accident occurs). Statistics show that rural roads are often the most dangerous. The design of new roads and the improvements of existing roads should focus on safety considerations at every conception stage. Levers include road and roadside design such as measures to avoid tree-accidents, traffic management, traffic telematics, traffic calming schemes in residential areas, safety management of road work zones, better signposting, and investment into ring roads, tunnels and roundabouts. The particular needs of two wheelers should be taken into account. In order improve the traffic related information we furthermore believe that the Car to Infrastructure technolgy should be further developed.

Road user measures: licensing, testing, training,information

  • Safety quality of driver training
  • Safety quality of rider training
  • Rehabilitation courses for repeat offenders
  • Social marketing/ campaigns/ safety education to
  • encourage compliance with rules on safe behaviour

Comment
Statistics on the number of deaths per million inhabitants in the various Member States show that the best performing countries have a wide-spread road safety culture and a long experience in training. All in all, more than half of the fatalities are considered to be directly imputable to behavioural factors, which are best addressed by education and training measures. Traffic is one of the main causes for the death of young people. Moreover, the risk of being killed in traffic per kilometre travelled is more than nine times higher for pedestrians and more than seven times higher for cyclists than for car occupants. This shows that EU countries should strive to provide their citizens with detailed training programmes without limiting their efforts only to motorists. Countries proposing extensive traffic education for citizens from all age range also had very positive results in terms of road safety. The potential of rehabilitation of road offenders to improve road safety should be addressed.

Road user measures enforcement

  • Combined publicity and police enforcement of
  • important safety rules


Comment

The 3rd Road Safety Action Plan shows that a too strong focus on enforcement, without clear road safety goals, fails to achieve ambitious targets. The emphasis should be shifted to the education and training of all road users. Particular attention should be further granted to so-called risk categories, such as vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists, children, seniors) and novice drivers – who are more likely to be involved in a road accident according to the statistics. Eco-driving should be encouraged, as it has a potential positive impact both on the environment and on road safety. FIA Clubs show how differentiated education and training for each age group can contribute to producing better and safer road users.

Vehicle safety

  • Need for improved safety quality of vehicle standards and equipment for cars (incl. electric cars)
  • Need for improved safety quality of vehicle standards and equipment for light commercial vehicles (incl.electric vehicles)
  • Need for improved safety quality of vehicle standards and equipment for heavy commercial vehicles (incl.electric vehicles)
  • Need for improved safety quality of vehicle standards and equipment for buses (incl. electric buses)
  • Need for improved safety quality of vehicle standards and equipment for powered two wheelers
  • Preventing injuries through better occupant protection e.g. seat belts, airbags and vehicle design and better protection of vulnerable road users
  • Preventing crashes through better brakes, lighting, intelligent systems


Comment
The death toll for car occupants in EU 15 is expected to have more than halved in 2010 compared to 2001. The newer Member States are more slowly following this trend. Decisive factors for this change are the immense improvements in active and passive safety performance of new cars, driven by more stringent legislation, FIA Club consumer testing and the Euro NCAP initiative. FIA and FIA Clubs are involved in the support of events and campaigns aimed at improving awareness among drivers, fleet managers and dealers about the benefits related to the spreading of on board safety technologies. The “eSafety Challenge 2009” was recently organised with this objective and with the active support of the FIA and FIA Clubs. Thanks to EU Regulations ESC (Electronic Stability Control) will become mandatory as from 2012. The quality of child restraint systems significantly improved thanks to the introduction of side impact tests in the Clubs’ child safety activities. Yet, a number of issues remain to be tackled. Some road safety challenges became more acute with the increase in traffic density, which results from European integration and growing prosperity. Intensified traffic contributes to making driving an increasingly demanding process. More and more accidents are caused by the lack of driver attention, misinterpretation of the traffic situation or non respect of safety distances. Occupants of smaller cars run a higher road safety risk due to the poor level of car-to-car crash
compatibility. The difference in size, weight and design is not addressed by the current crash test procedures. Further challenges to road safety include non-use of seat belts and child restraints. Low price cars with unsatisfactorily low safety standards greatly concern FIA Clubs. At the same time, modern safety car structures, whilst more advanced in terms of safety standards, may delay the rescuing of jammed car occupants in case of an accident. Heavy Duty Vehicles (HDV) occupants represent only approximately 3% of all road traffic fatalities . But the number of fatalities caused by HDV rises significantly when all accidents involving this type of vehicles are analysed. HDV indeed induce higher risks for other road users such as car occupants, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians. The main causes leading to HDV accidents are too short safety distances and uncontrolled lane departure. Accident research carried out by FIA Clubs indicates that distance radar (ACC) combined with automatic emergency braking and lane keeping would significantly reduce the number of such accidents. The EU translated key Clubs’ demands into regulation: From 2012, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and from 2016, Lane Keeping Assistance and Distance Radar will become mandatory for HDV. FIA Clubs’ crash tests point out that HDV rear under run protection devices, even if designed according to the latest EU Directive, are too weak to protect impacting cars’ occupants efficiently. The driving performances of powered two wheelers (mopeds, scooters and motorcycles) considerably improved in recent years, because of the installation of devices such as anti-lock braking systems (ABS). ABS shows the highest accident avoidance and accident mitigation potential of all driver assistance systems. In 2006, approximately 6,200 powered two wheeler (PTW) riders were killed in road accidents within the EU 25. They represent 16% of the total number of road fatalities. Moreover, while the number of road fatalities considerably declined in the past decade, the number of PTW users killed rose in 13 out of 27 Member States. For the same distance travelled, the risk for a PTW rider to be killed in a road accident is on average 18 times higher than for a car occupant. Furthermore we see a significant potential in further developing enhanced safety technologies such as obstacle detection and car to car and car to infrastructure communication.

Road safety is a shared responsibility at EU, national, regional and local levels with national authorities usually taking the lead. National action typically involves the development and implementation of multi-sectoral strategies and action programmes which address key problems and are focussed on achieving results. Programmes are coordinated across national government and with regional and local authorities, business and civil society.

What do you see as the key problems or issues for institutional management of road safety?
Comment

Shared responsibility should be further promoted, in order to fully deploy European life-saving potential. Experience shows that strong political leadership is necessary to bring about drastic changes. Decision makers at all governance levels should be encouraged to accompany short and long term legislative changes with massive information campaigns. FIA Clubs therefore call for the involvement of authorities and personalities at the highest regional, national and European level: they should work toward developping an improved regulatory framework and personally engage for ambitious road safety targets. FIA Clubs expressly welcome the new rationale, according to which both improved driving and social skills are needed to educate tomorrow’s safe drivers.


Monitoring and evaluation, knowledge transfer, research
Comment

The design of the road and roadside is thought to play a role in as many as one in three accidents. An analysis of national road safety strategies shows that road infrastructure improvements could deliver greater fatalities reduction than improvements in vehicle design and driver behaviour. Much of this potential has been neglected up to now. FIA Clubs believe that road users are entitled to a proper re-investment of their road taxes and charges in safe road infrastructure. They should also get sufficient information about the road network safety. Through the European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP), the European Tunnel Assessment Programme (EuroTAP), the EuroTest programme as well as numerous national initiatives, FIA Clubs provide an independent measurement of the safety of Europe’s roads and track how quickly and effectively measures improving road safety are implemented. FIA Clubs’ activities raise public awareness on the quality and the safety of Europe’s mobility infrastructure, calling for appropriate quality and safety standards, informing consumers, stimulating a healthy public debate about the best ways to tackle identified shortcomings and persuade operators to improvements.


3. THE ROLE OF THE EU
Besides considering road safety as an integral element of European transport policy, the EU also contributes to improving road safety by integrating road safety concerns into other EU policies, and by removing obstacles to effective road safety policies that might exist at the EU level.

Is the integration of road safety into other areas of EU policy effective?
Partial

If not, in which sectors of policy should this integration be improved? - more than one option possible

  • State aid, financing, loans
  • Taxation policy
  • Education policy
  • Other
  • Comment

Comment

The 4th European Road Safety Action Plan gives a unique opportunity to look back at the progress made and call for ever more ambitious road safety actions. In our view, the future EU strategy should be based on high level commitment, strong leadership, clear objectives and precise targets. Road safety concerns the whole of society and should not be reduced the sole road users. A holistic approach is needed to ensure that the society as a whole take the appropriate measures to inform its citizens of the potential dangers and the attitude they should take. Vulnerable users (children, elderly people , cyclist and pedestrians) should be given specific attention. The optimisation of the road environment should result from the efforts of all road
users. The road vehicle, the road infrastructure and the road user should be optimised with a safe system approach.

Do existing European policies/legislation create obstacles to prevent effective road safety policies at national, regional and local levels?
No

The EU carries out a range of activity to improve road safety in support of activity carried out nationally, regionally and locally.

What should be the priority areas for action in the next programme 2011-2020
Comment

The risk of being killed significantly differs throughout the European Union. In 2008, the risk rate of high risk countries was up to four times that of low risk countries. Taking into account the different road safety risk rates the European Union should set differentiated casualty reduction targets for 2020 as to aim towards a convergence in road safety.

New technologies, innovative and intelligent transport solutions can improve safety, increase efficiency, protect the environment and offer new customeroriented services to citizens.

Is there a need for EU action to increase the market acceptance of new technologies,innovative and intelligent transport solutions?
Yes


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