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EU aims to reduce road fatalities with improved infrastructure

15 May 2014 #Policy #Top Stories

The European Commission says that smarter roads are needed to reduce the number of fatalities on rural networks.

The announcement was made ahead of a number of consultations during European Road Safety Day, with the commission stating that focus needs to change from making the motorways safer to improving the quality and safety of urban roads.

This change of focus has been driven by more fatal accidents being attributed to these networks than motorways, which account for 7% of fatalities.

Its research into EU road safety for 2013 shows that 54% of all fatalities last year occurred on rural roads, while 39% were in built-up areas.

The European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (ACEA) supports the EU Commission’s intentions to make the European road network safer.

Erik Jonnaert, ACEA Secretary General, adds, “Road transport fatalities have almost halved in the past decade (from 54,900 in 2001 to 26,000 in 2013). But more can be done if all stakeholders join forces.

“90% of accidents are caused by drivers, so it is only by combining better vehicles with upgraded infrastructure and improved driver training that we can further lower accident rates.”

The commission hopes to replicate the success of reducing accidents on motorways to smaller roads, by encouraging safety inspections and impact assessments of a similar ilk when building or developing this network.

One idea it had was the creation of a safe system approach, which acknowledges that even the best drivers are prone to mistakes and so, the road infrastructure’s environment should be designed to limit potential issues.

ACEA meanwhile, is calling for further support from stakeholders on improving intelligent transport systems that are currently being used, as it feels further expansion is possible, and beneficial to the road network in general.

Erik Jonnaert

Erik Jonnaert plans to modernise EU roads

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