The hemicycle of the European Parliament building in Strasbourg, France

MEPs demand action on road safety at first plenary debate with new Transport Commissioner

  • February 24, 2020

Adina Vălean, the European Commissioner for transport underlined the importance of the Safe System approach and recommitted to the new 2030 target to halve road deaths in the EU as she faced MEPs on the topic of road safety for the first time since her official confirmation.

At the first plenary debate on road safety of the current parliamentary session, in Strasbourg on 13 February, a number of MEPs challenged the Commissioner to bring forward measures to address several key challenges.

Róża Thun of Poland, the MEP responsible for shepherding the Parliament’s position last year on new vehicle safety regulations, raised concerns over the numbers of pedestrians dying on EU roads.

ETSC’s latest PIN report published last month showed that more than 50,000 pedestrians died between 2010 and 2018.

The Swedish MEP Johan Danielsson pointed out the issue of gender bias in road safety, calling for crash test dummies representing female forms to be used in safety tests.

Valter Flego of Croatia underlined the discrepancy between the EU approach to aviation safety, and the number of deaths accepted on the roads.

Tilly Metz of Luxembourg warned of the need to ensure that automated vehicles do not increase risks for groups such as pedestrians and cyclists.

Another Polish MEP, Kosma Złotowski suggested that insurance companies do more to reward safe driving to improve behaviour.

Elena Kountoura of Greece called for deeds not words from the EU on road safety.

The Belgian Benoît Lutgen welcomed the Commissioner’s promise to review alcohol, drug and speed limits across the EU.

Finally, Elżbieta Łukacijewska of Poland said that inequalities in road safety across the EU should be addressed in the next EU multi-annual budget – which is currently being discussed.

The debate was the second chance for new MEPs to question the Commission on road safety policy.  Matthew Baldwin, the European Commission’s coordinator for road safety and sustainable mobility faced the Parliament’s transport committee last month.  In a wide-ranging discussion, Mr Baldwin acknowledged that the EU had not been as successful at cutting road deaths of people outside cars as those inside.

Video of the plenary debate with Mrs Vălean, 13 February

Video of the exchange of views with Matthew Baldwin, EU coordinator for road safety and sustainable mobility, at the EP transport committee, 20 January