Urgent action needed on road safety as new figures show increase in deaths

  • March 31, 2016

ETSC says the European Commission must stop delaying new road safety policy measures if it is to help reverse an increase in deaths on EU roads.

Within the last year, the European Commission was expected to come forward with revisions to vehicle safety, pedestrian protection and infrastructure safety rules as well as a new target and measures to reduce serious road injuries.  Proposals on all four have been delayed, and it is not clear when they will see the light of day.

Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of ETSC said:

“Last year, the European Commission described the poor progress on road safety as a ‘wake-up call’. But twelve months later, four critical policy measures have been delayed. We hope that the announcement of today’s even more worrying figures will finally lead to some more concerted action.

“This Commission has repeatedly emphasised its ‘better regulation’ agenda. But road safety requires constant vigilance as well as new measures with legal backing.  A failure to regulate, in the case of road safety, could lead to more deaths and serious injuries.”

ETSC says EU member states also need to take action to help improve road safety.  Declines in levels of police enforcement, a failure to invest in safer infrastructure and a lack of action on tackling speed and drink driving have also played a role in recent poor progress in some member states. ETSC’s in-depth analysis of the latest national road safety data will be launched on 20 June at the ETSC Road Safety Performance Index conference in Brussels.

The European Commission has, for the first time, published a figure for the number of people seriously injured on Europe’s roads : 135,000 in 2014. This move required the adoption, by all EU member states, of a standardised definition of what constitutes a serious road injury, as well as a standardised way of collecting the data. ETSC welcomes this long overdue and positive step in the right direction.  But a long term target and measures to reduce the numbers seriously injured are now needed. They were promised last year but not delivered. ETSC says that now the data are available, there is no reason to delay further.

Notes to editors:

  1. In a report published last week, ETSC called for an overhaul of Europe’s vehicle safety framework. https://etsc.eu/europes-car-safety-framework-needs-overhaul/