European Transport Ministers's Meeting, Luxembourg, 18 June 2024

Transport ministers recommit to road safety action

  • June 19, 2024

EU transport ministers met in Luxembourg last month and issued a joint statement in response to a recent European Court of Auditors report on road safety

In the statement, ministers encourage public authorities to mandate a maximum speed of 30 km/h in areas where active and vulnerable road users and vehicles mix, a key priority of the Stockholm Declaration.

E-scooters are also mentioned, with ministers backing European Commission efforts to provide guidance for safe use.  ETSC would like to see new EU technical standards for e-scooters which should include, for example, a factory set maximum speed of 20 km/h. 

On vehicle automation ministers reiterated the need for the Commission to work on technical regulations and emphasised the need to introduce the vehicles safely.

Ministers also pointed out that some Member States are applying the safety procedures mandated under the Road Infrastructure Safety Management Directive more broadly than required.  ETSC had argued for all main urban and rural roads to be covered by the directive, so welcomes the fact that some Member States are extending the scope on a voluntary basis.

Ministers also said they have ‘serious concerns’ about the high number of active and vulnerable road users being killed on EU roads.  

Commenting on the statement, ETSC’s policy director Ellen Townsend said: “While it’s good that transport ministers are concerned and seem supportive across lots of areas for action, the document mainly reiterates support for the modest initiatives already being taken.  Bolder measures will be needed to hit the target EU transport ministers set to cut road deaths and serious injuries in half by 2030.  An EU road safety agency should be top of the list, along with meaningful action on speed, drink-driving and improved vehicle safety technology.”

Ahead of the meeting, the Austrian minister Leonore Gewessler told journalists of her concerns about the EU opening the door to megatrucks, also known as gigaliners.

“Gigaliners have no place on Austria’s roads,” she said.  

“Some EU states are trying to use the revision of the directive on weights and dimensions to deploy gigaliners”, continued Gewessler.  ”However, these trucks are a burden on infrastructure, a threat to road safety and a problem for shifting traffic to rail.”

ETSC has set out its policy recommendations for the next European Parliament and Commission mandate (2024-2029) in a recently published briefing.  

ETSC has also published a briefing for the next six-month EU presidency, chaired by Hungary.  The document calls for constructive agreements on ongoing legislative files, including revised rules on cross-border recognition of driving bans and driving licences while calling for action on roadworthiness checks and the safety of assisted and automated driving systems.