The new EU coordinator for road safety, Kristian Schmidt, told MEPs earlier this week that discussions are going on within the European Commission on the establishment of an EU road safety agency, and that the idea is ‘gaining ground’.
The European Parliament echoed ETSC by calling last year for the setting up of a road safety agency, in recognition of the need for better coordination of road safety issues in the EU, especially in light of new targets, KPIs and the rollout of complex automated vehicle technology with the accompanying need for in-depth crash investigations. There are EU agencies for maritime, aviation and railway safety, but not for road transport, which kills thousands more people every year. Mr Schmidt said that external consultation would take place, but the establishment of an agency would not happen ‘overnight’.
The new road safety coordinator, who was appearing before the Transport committee of the European Parliament for the first time since taking over from Matthew Baldwin, also said new legislation on driving licenses and cross-border enforcement of traffic laws would come in the first quarter of next year.
Several MEPs took the floor to express serious concern over recent rises in road deaths following the end of Covid restrictions and called for legislative action from the Commission, including on issues such as speeding and alcohol.
Mr Schmidt is the current director of land transport in the European Commission’s mobility department and will remain in that role while taking on the road safety brief.
A recording of the committee meeting can be viewed online here: https://multimedia.europarl.europa.eu/en/webstreaming/committee-on-transport-and-tourism_20220926-1500-COMMITTEE-TRAN