News - Page 3

Several countries looking to crack down on mobile phone use at the wheel

Several countries looking to crack down on mobile phone use at the wheel

A ban on mobile phone use while driving, tougher enforcement and a driving mode for devices are some of the options being explored by governments around Europe as data show distracted driving’s deadly impact continues unabated. The Dutch Transport Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen told the AD newspaper last November that the government was considering several options to reduce the risk of distracted driving, including a full ban or requiring that certain features, such as Pokémon Go, be switched off automatically above a certain […]

Commission reveals country-by-country serious road injury rates

Commission reveals country-by-country serious road injury rates

The European Commission’s latest road safety scorecard reveals, for the first time, estimated figures for rates of serious injury per million inhabitants broken down by country for 16 EU member states. The data act as a further reminder of the scale of the problem, with rates of serious injury dwarfing the numbers killed. The data is based on MAIS3+, a common definition of a serious injury now being used for comparison across the EU. EU transport commissioner Violeta Bulc told the European Parliament in […]

Professional training for truckers should be extended to van drivers

Professional training for truckers should be extended to van drivers

Earlier this month, the European Commission published a proposal to revise qualification and training rules for lorry and bus drivers. ETSC welcomed the initiative but says the rules should be extended to van drivers and include elements on avoiding distraction. Data from 2014 show that 3,863 people were killed in collisions involving HGVs of more than 3.5 tons and 751 in those involving buses and coaches. But ETSC points out that more die in collisions involving vans, than with lorries (nearly 4,000 in 2012).  […]

EU transport ministers back ‘ambitious’ vehicle safety improvements

EU transport ministers back ‘ambitious’ vehicle safety improvements

Eight EU transport ministers have called on the European Commission to ‘speed up’ plans to upgrade vehicle safety standards saying road safety should be ‘top priority’. In a letter to the European Commissioner for industry Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the transport ministers of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and The Netherlands said ‘ambitious’ new vehicle safety standards are needed ‘to help Member States halve the number of road deaths by 2020’. 26,000 people die on European Union roads annually, with at least 135,000 suffering life-changing […]

Dutch government urged to do more on road safety

Dutch government urged to do more on road safety

The director of the Dutch Institute for Road Safety Research (SWOV) says the government needs to look at speed limits, increase the number of roads with separate cycle lanes and revise environmental taxes that failed to promote safer vehicles. While the Netherlands has been a leader in road safety in Europe, recent years have seen stagnation and an increase in the number of deaths. In an interview with the AD newspaper, Dr Peter van der Knaap pointed to ETSC research published last year that […]

France and Ireland step up roadside drug testing

France and Ireland step up roadside drug testing

France and Ireland are increasing their use of road-side saliva testing technology in a bid to boost enforcement of drug driving. France previously required police to accompany drivers to a clinical blood test if they were suspected of drug driving based on a saliva test.  Following a trial to determine the accuracy of roadside testing equipment the blood test will now be replaced by a second saliva test.  Both of the samples taken will still need to be verified at a laboratory, but the […]

Safety groups back tougher UK penalties for causing a road death

Safety groups back tougher UK penalties for causing a road death

More than 9,000 people responded to a recent UK Ministry of Justice consultation on proposals to increase prison sentences for people that cause death by dangerous driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The government said the response was one of the largest of any recent consultation and included responses from victims’ groups, bereaved families, road safety organisations and charities. The proposals include an increase in the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving or driving under the influence of […]

Safety fears over reduced fines in Greece

Safety fears over reduced fines in Greece

ETSC’s Greek member organisation RSI Panos Mylonas has strongly rejected a government proposal to cut fines for traffic offences including speeding and use of mobile phones at the wheel. The plans came to light in a Sunday newspaper interview with deputy minister Nikolaos Toskas. Mr Toskas commented that the current fines are too high for Greek people facing difficult economic circumstances. While sympathetic to the harsh financial pressures many Greeks are facing, RSI Panos Mylonas and ETSC commented that the move would be a […]

Cross border follow-up of traffic offences not being used at ‘full potential’

Cross border follow-up of traffic offences not being used at ‘full potential’

New EU rules have had a positive impact on tackling road traffic offences committed abroad according to a European Commission report. The number of investigated offences committed by non-residents increased by four times to approximately 2 million between 2013 and 2015 in the Member States which have implemented the rules. The “Cross-Border Enforcement Directive” allows Member States, with the help of an electronic information system, to identify EU drivers who commit traffic offences abroad including four “main killers” that cause 75% of road deaths: […]

Targeted safety measures needed to prevent road deaths among young drivers

Targeted safety measures needed to prevent road deaths among young drivers

Zero tolerance on drink driving, additional hazard perception training and graduated driver licensing schemes should become the norm in order to help tackle the disproportionate risks faced by young drivers and motorcycle riders in Europe, according to a new report. Over 3800 young people (aged 18-24) are killed each year on EU roads, the biggest single cause of death for this age group.  According to the report by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) and the UK Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS), […]

In memory: Professor Ryszard Krystek

In memory: Professor Ryszard Krystek

The ETSC team was saddened to hear of the passing of Professor Ryszard Krystek, who died on 20 January, aged 75. Professor Krystek rose to be one of Poland’s leading experts on road safety. He held the posts of Director of the Institute of Transportation Engineering at the Technical University of Gdansk and Undersecretary of State for Transport Policy at the Polish Ministry of Infrastructure.  He led two major strategic national road safety programmes in Poland, known as GAMBIT 96 and GAMBIT 2005. Latterly he was […]

Tesla autopilot updates change rules on speeding

Tesla autopilot updates change rules on speeding

Tesla’s latest software update has reversed an earlier change that capped the speed of its Autopilot driver assistance system at the posted speed limit on undivided roads. Tesla’s Model S cars received an initial software update just before Christmas that introduced the new restriction.  That update was linked to a crash earlier in the year of a Tesla vehicle in Florida that was operating in Autopilot mode, and travelling at 74 mph in a 65 mph zone. But earlier this month, a new update […]

Dublin is the latest 30 km/h city

Dublin is the latest 30 km/h city

Plans to cut speed limits to 30 km/h on residential streets throughout Dublin were approved in December. The lower limits will be introduced on a step-by-step basis from March 2017 and will apply on almost all roads in Dublin and its surrounding suburbs. The council’s head of traffic and transport Dick Brady said the overriding principle in relation to a 30km/h default speed limit was road safety: “It’s in the interest of road safety we would be recommending these new speed limits. We are talking about […]

Bulc says EU serious injury target will be set in 2017

Bulc says EU serious injury target will be set in 2017

Violetta Bulc, the European Commissioner for Transport, has renewed a promise to introduce a target to reduce serious road injuries across the EU. Speaking to MEPs on the European Parliament’s Transport Committee on 5 December, Bulc described the figure of 135,000 serious injuries per year as “serious numbers”, and described the current situation as “frustrating…we are not moving forward”. Bulc said a target will be announced in 2017, based on the Commission’s recent report on serious injuries. She also noted that 16 member states […]

Flanders reduces out of town speed limits

Flanders reduces out of town speed limits

The Northern Belgian region of Flanders has reduced the default speed limit on roads outside built-up areas to 70km/h from 90km/h previously. The new limit, which doesn’t apply to motorways or separated highways, is designed to improve road safety but also to standardise the proliferation of lower limits already in place on many inter urban roads across the region.  Instead of 70km/h being a signposted exception, it now becomes the default – with 90km/h only permitted under specific conditions such as separated bicycle paths […]

Commission outlines plans for safer cars, vans and lorries

Commission outlines plans for safer cars, vans and lorries

The European Commission has published a list of 19 lifesaving safety technologies that could be made mandatory on new vehicles in the next update of EU vehicle safety rules expected next year.  The European Transport Safety Council welcomes the announcement but says several critical areas for action are missing, and the proposed timescale is far too long considering that most of the technologies are already available today. 26,000 people die on European Union roads annually, with at least 135,000 suffering life-changing injuries.  Progress on […]

Belgium strengthens alcohol interlock programme

Belgium strengthens alcohol interlock programme

The Belgian Minister of Mobility François Bellot is planning to strengthen drink driving laws to require judges to impose alcohol interlocks on recidivist and high level first time offenders and in cases of drunkenness. Belgium’s alcohol interlock programme began in September 2013, but judges have only imposed the requirement in 42 cases. By far the most common sanction since then was a temporary driving ban, imposed on 19,510 individuals. Mr Bellot is preparing legal changes that would require judges to impose alcohol interlocks to […]

In memory of our friend Will

In memory of our friend Will

The ETSC team learned this week of the untimely passing of our friend and colleague Dr Will Murray. Dr Murray was a leading light in the field of road safety for more than 20 years. As a researcher, advisor on fleet safety and as founder of the UK road safety charity Brake. Over the last seven years he worked with ETSC – generously volunteering his time and expertise – as a key contributor to our PRAISE project on preventing death and serious injury in […]

English back lower drink drive limits

English back lower drink drive limits

There have been renewed calls for a lower drink drive limit in England after a survey found that more than three quarters of people would support such a move. Drink driving deaths in Great Britain have remained static since 2010 at 240 deaths a year, despite an overall reduction in fatalities. Scotland reduced its drink driving limit from 0.8 g/l to 0.5g/l two years ago. Northern Ireland is set to follow soon. David Davies, Executive Director of PACTS said: “The number of deaths involving […]

Dutch attempt to unblock alcohol interlock programme

Dutch attempt to unblock alcohol interlock programme

A six-party coalition in the Netherlands is asking the government to find a solution to reopen the Dutch alcohol interlock programme to new participants after legal challenges put the scheme on hold last year. The Dutch programme began in 2011, and had more than 5000 participants by 2014. But a legal challenge last year resulted in the suspension of the programme after the Supreme Court concluded that the costs of participation, borne by the participants, came in addition to fines – an effective double […]

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