Scene of a car crash, UK

Briefing: An EU Target to reduce Seriously Injured on the Roads

  • June 13, 2016

Since 2010, the European Commission has been committed to introducing an EU-wide strategic target to reduce serious road traffic injuries. In 2013, the crucial common definition of serious injuries to be recorded and tracked was approved. A target was finally expected to be set in the first half of 2015, having been promised ‘shortly’ in a Commission press release of 24 March and by Commissioner Bulc’s presentation of the EC Work Programme at the Transport Committee of the European Parliament on 6 May.

On 10 June the European Commission published a mid-term review of its road safety policy. Expectations were for an announcement on an adoption of a serious injury reduction target. The accompanying staff working document says the Commission will “work on serious injuries including monitoring of progress…and by further activities aimed at supporting Member States and local communities” – but makes no mention of the strategic target.

Confusingly, the full interim evaluation report on EU road safety policy 2011-2020, published alongside the staff working paper, says the “definition and methodology on serious road injuries is in place: prerequisites for setting a strategic target are fulfilled.”

The interim evaluation recognises, under the category “what remains to be done”, that a target on reducing the number of people seriously injured remains to be set, that “possible actions” still have to be identified and that a study is being prepared to identify those targeted measures.

Concerns over the apparent dropping of the target were expressed in a letter to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker from more than 70 road safety experts and organisations and 12 MEPs.

This briefing assesses the current state of play, and re-examines the case for the EU to urgently introduce the long-promised target.