In 2008, 39 000 European citizens died in road accidents. The EU objective to halve the number of deaths in road accidents by 2010 (i.e. 27 000 deaths) will be a difficult target to achieve. The European Commission is hosting today a conference on the results of the public consultation preceding the drafting of the European Road Safety Action Programme 2011-2020. More than 400 stakeholders with different backgrounds will discuss the problems and the state of play in road safety in the European Union.
‘The public consultation and today’s conference contribute to defining a clear and measurable European action programme on road safety for the period 2011-2020. Europe cannot be lax on road safety – tens of thousands of human lives are at stake each year. This action programme will help us remain demanding and determined in our fight against road accidents. The new action programme will also focus on key priorities such as accidents in rural roads (60% of the total number of deaths) and vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and elderly people ‘, said Commissioner for Transport Antonio Tajani while opening the conference.
After giving an assessment of the results of the current European Road Safety Action Programme (2001 – 2010), the Commission will release the outcome of the consultation process that has taken place over the past months to contribute to the next action programme. This process has involved experts as well as citizens in general, with a view to gathering ideas on future actions that can help further improve road safety in the EU.
The debate takes place in the form of panel discussions with experts and plenary sessions with all participants. Subjects for the first panel discussion are the safety of vehicles and of infrastructure, with focus on the safety of motorcycles, vehicles of the future such as electric cars, eco-driving, and on how to adjust infrastructure to different categories of road users. The second panel discussion treats the role that citizens can play in improving road safety. Panellists are representing road victims, professional drivers, public authorities, traffic police and vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and elderly people as well as industry representatives.
A new section on the EUROPA website dedicated to road safety was also launched today. These multilingual , easy-to-use web pages will provide comprehensive information on road safety per category of road users such as car drivers, motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists, with the use of pictograms and other readily understandable information.
Vice-President Tajani also presented the Excellence in Road Safety Awards 2009.. The awards are part of the European Road Safety Charter, which is a European Commission initiative that provides a road safety platform to enterprises, associations, research institutions and public authorities. Their joint aim is to carry out concrete actions and share best practice in order to improve road safety problems that they encounter. The European Road Safety Charter is one of the actions of the European Road Safety Action Programme 2001 – 2010. The winners of the awards this year for the following categories are as follows:
Large companies and multinationals: EKO Fuel Stations Bulgaria (Bulgaria)
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises: Transportes Bizarro Duarte, Lda. (Portugal)
Federations and Associations: Zrzeszenie Miedzynarodowych Przewozników Drogowych (Road hauliers association – Poland)
Institutions: Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service (UK)
NGO: Prague Mothers (Czech Republic)
Local entities (Regions and Cities): Linköpings kommun (Sweden)
- JARLATH SWEENEY