The number of people killed on Europe’s roads fell by 8% last year, following a 9% decrease between 2011 and 2012, according to provisional figures released by the European Commission.
Commenting on the announcement, Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) said: “We welcome the reduction in the number of road deaths in Europe last year. But the fact that more than 500 lives are still being lost every single week on our roads is a reminder that Europe needs to step up its efforts”.
Speeding is a primary factor in about one third of fatal collisions and an aggravating factor in all crashes. ETSC say that one technology which could help, known as Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), is available now and at modest cost. ISA should be fitted to all lorries, buses and vans to ensure speed limits are respected.
The Commission says that the number of cyclists killed has been increasing, partly due to the increase in popularity of cycling. Legislation on the weights and dimension of lorries is currently being negotiated by the EU. ETSC says that the safety elements of the proposals, enabling a safer front end design and increased visibility, are of tantamount importance and must be given the green light as soon as possible.
Passenger seat-belt reminders are another simple piece of technology that is currently optional but could save many lives if made mandatory, according to ETSC.
The European Commission also announced that a strategic target for the reduction of road safety injuries is expected to be adopted in 2015. ETSC welcomed the move, which is long overdue. More than 300,000 people suffer serious injuries on Europe’s roads every year – a target for cutting this number can help reduce the number dramatically as the existing road deaths target has done.