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SAFETY MONITOR DECEMBER 1999 EDITION No. 28

SUMMARY

The European Commission

  • Presented a new communication on the Creation of a single European sky
  • Adopted a revised package of railway proposals to make European freight railway more competitive and maintain high safety levels.
The European Parliament
  • Fuel tank and rear under-run protection of motor vehicles and their trailers
  • Compulsory fitting of speedometers to motorcycles and other two and three-wheeled vehicles
The European Council of Ministers:
  • Approved a Directive improving passenger seats for wheeled agricultural or forestry tractors
  • Passed a Resolution on ensuring health protection in all Community policies and activities
European Transport Safety Council
Released two new reports on:
  • Safety in and around airports
  • Reducing the severity of road injuries through post impact care


ACROSS THE MODES

EU Budget 2000

The Council and Parliament are close to a final agreement on the transport safety budget. During the second reading discussion on 26 November the Council agreed to the 7.9 million euro commitment for the budget line B2-702 (Preparation, evaluation and promotion of transport safety) for the year 2000. The Parliament will vote on 16 December 1999 at second and final reading.

Public health Resolution

At the Council of Health Ministers' meeting of 18 November, EU Commissioner David Byne reported on progress on the development of the new Action Programme on public health. This is likely to be presented to Council and Parliament during the forthcoming Portuguese Presidency.

During the same meeting the Council adopted a Resolution on ensuring health protection in all Community policies and activities.

The Council emphasises in the Resolution that Article 153 of the Treaty stipulates that a high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of Community policies and activities. It considers that this will require a high level of political commitment. It takes note of the work done at national and international level on health impact assessment and reaffirms the previous invitation to the Commission to:

  • draw up methods and criteria for evaluating the effects of EU policies on human health;
  • carry out early and transparent evaluation of the impact of EU policies on human health;
  • identify in its annual work programme all proposals which may have an impact on health protection;
  • follow a problem-oriented approach.
The Council further invited the Commission to develop further the assessment of the health impact of policies:
  • set up a network of experts to advance methods and terminology applicable at EU level
  • identify via a problem-oriented approach in mind appropriate community measures to assess their impact on health.

ETSC very much welcomes this initiative which should mean additional attention to the problem of road crashes, the leading killer of EU citizens aged under of 45 years and costing more in socio-economic terms than either cancers or heart disease.

Transport safety in EU applicant countries

In an enlargement working group meeting, EU Member States emphasised that the six front-runner applicant countries had to bring national laws in line with EU transport rules on safety and the environment before joining the EU.

Examination requirements for safety advisers - dangerous goods

In November, Parliament's Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism held an exchange of views on the Council common position for adopting a Directive on the harmonisation of examination requirements for safety advisers for the transport of dangerous goods by road, rail or inland waterways. An amended Commission proposal had been put to the Council, which had taken up the majority of Parliamentary amendments adopted at first reading.

Rapporteur Dieter Koch (EPP, D) welcomed the common position and the fact that Council amendments had not involved any substantial change to the proposal nor loss in any of the safety measures. Due to the delay in the legislative procedure, he proposed that the original date for entry into force (31.12.99) be extended by three months which was accepted by the Commission. The Plenary vote is expected on 14 December.

Commission hearing on innovation in the field of transport

The European Commission invited international NGOs to participate in a hearing in November on innovation in the field of transport, an issue which had been promoted during the German Presidency in the first half of 1999.

Providing evidence to this hearing, ETSC noted that new technology had the potential to save thousands of lives, particularly on European roads. However, intelligent transport applications could also be part of the problem if poorly designed and largely unregulated in their introduction, creating hazards for the driver and for other road users.

The greatest potential threat to safety was from drivers carrying out activities not related to driving. Safety experts were particularly concerned about the so-called 'Office on Wheels' development - in-car access to internet and email - which was being promoted heavily by IT companies. The use of in-car PCs needed to be made impossible to use while driving. There were also dangers associated with poor displays and illegible messages in in-vehicle systems related to the driving task, which cause hazards by distracting or overloading the driver. So deployment should not take place on a broad scale until it could be ascertained that new applications of that technology would not create further problems.

More prominence needed to be given to those technologies, which had huge potential to make a difference - some ready now, some for the future. These included

  • Speed and red light camera technology which was already being used in different Member States but to an insufficient degree. Speed cameras had a benefit to cost ratio of at least 5:1 and led to casualty reductions in urban areas of at least 25 per cent.
  • Audible seat belt warning devices were intelligent devices which detected whether seat belts were in use and if not, gave out increasingly aggressive warning signals until the belt was used. The technology was there, user trials had been conducted in Sweden and various car manufacturers were experimenting with different systems. The scope for saving lives through higher seat belt use was about 7000 lives across the EU annually. In-vehicle measure such as this could make a very cheap contribution to encouraging safe behaviour.
  • Roadside variable message signs to provide information to the driver.
  • Electronic driving licences to prevent illegal driving by making it impossible to start the vehicle.

For the longer term, intelligent speed adaptation had greater potential than virtually any other safety system, preventing crashes from taking place and reducing their severity when they occurred. In its voluntary form with drivers permitted to switch it off, intelligent speed adaptation as a form of driver support could reduce injury crashes by around 10 per cent. In its mandatory form it could reduce injury crashes by one third and fatalities by over 50 per cent.

In the emerging EU policy on ITS, safety should be treated as an equal partner to mobility and environmental considerations. The EU needed to take far greater responsibility for ensuring the safe deployment of technologies. It should promote ITS with a proven safety benefit.

Transport Council agenda 9-10 December

The December agenda of the Transport Council will include discussion of the Galileo project, air traffic management, the proposal for a Directive on the harmonisation of the examination standards of rail, road and river safety advisers, and road tunnel safety.

ROAD SAFETY

COUNCIL OF MINISTERS

Tunnel safety


In October, the Transport Council reiterated its invitation to the Commission to present proposals aimed at improving safety in tunnels for the December Council.

A Commission working group had met in September to discuss possible safety improvements. ETSC had highlighted the value of risk assessments in and around tunnels to determine site-specific remedial measures.

Working time - road transport

An agreement as to whether or not to include self-employed drivers in the scope of the proposed Directive concerning the organisation of working time for mobile workers performing road transport activities had not yet been reached. The Presidency and the Commission are trying to find a compromise to enable the Council to return to the matter again at the Transport Council of 9-10 December.

The proposal aims to provide basic protection for mobile workers performing road transport activities by granting minimum daily and weekly periods of rest and adequate breaks. It provides for a maximum weekly working time of 60 hours, with the maximum average working week limited to 48 hours over a 4-month reference period. Working time covers not only time spent at the wheel but also activities such as loading, maintenance and cleaning.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

Transport of dangerous goods by road


Dieter Koch's (EPP, Germany) report on the amendment of the Council Directive 94/55 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States with regard to the transport of hazardous goods by road was approved in November by the Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism. A Plenary vote is expected in the 13-17 December session.

Tractor passenger seats

The Council meeting of 11 November unanimously adopted a Directive adapting to technical progress the Directive on passenger seats for wheeled agricultural of forestry tractors (76/763/EEC). It introduces improved design requirements for passenger seats and envisages further provisions at a later stage to increase passenger safety.

Interior fittings of motor vehicles

The Internal Market Council has adopted its common position on the proposed Directive amending Directive 74/60 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the interior fittings of motor vehicles (category M1) The main objective is to extend the scope of the Directive to cover motor vehicles other than passenger cars and to adapt to technical progress. New requirements concerning power-operated windows for eliminating the danger to children, when closing these windows, roof panel and partition systems are proposed. It goes to Parliament for second reading in January.

Parallel agreement on global technical regulations for vehicles

The Parliament will vote (assent procedure) in the next Plenary in December on the report from rapporteur Guido Bodrato (EPP, I) from the Committee on Industry, External Trade, Research and Energy on the "Parallel agreement" covering the global technical regulations for wheeled vehicles, equipment which can be fitted and/or be used on wheeled vehicles. The Parallel Agreement to the Revised UN ECE 1958 Agreement will further facilitate the participation of different countries in the global harmonisation process.

Speedometers on two or three-wheeled vehicles

Parliament has approved the report by Enrico Ferri (EPP, Italy), on the compulsory fitting of speedometers to motorcycles and other two and three-wheeled vehicles on its second reading.

Fuel tanks on motor vehicles

At second reading, Parliament adopted Malcolm Harbour's (EPP,UK) report on the approximation of legislation on fuel tanks and rear under-run protection of motor vehicles and their trailers.

The proposal contains provisions on plastic tanks and extends the coverage to non-liquid fuels. It will apply to all motor vehicles, with special applications for different types. Furthermore a provision is included which allows future adaptation to technical progress.

Roadworthiness test for vehicles

Following the European Parliament's first reading, the European Commission approved an amended proposal on roadworthiness tests for heavy vehicles and buses operating in the EU.

AIR SAFETY

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

Fifteen countries, a single European sky


In December, the Commission adopted a new communication on the creation of a single European sky. It calls for a major political move by Member States to address congestion in European airspace which it believes is caused by:

  • insufficient steps being taken to date to cope with the exponential growth in air traffic;
  • air traffic management methods reaching the limits of their possibilities;
  • organisational structures for air traffic management proving to be ineffective and insufficiently transparent;
  • the problem being aggravated by the fact that Europe's airspace is divided between fifteen sovereign States who, for various reasons above all, military ones, reject any closer cooperation.

Mrs de Palacio's communication stresses the urgent need for appropriate technical and operational measures and collective management of Europe's airspace: "Europe cannot keep the frontiers in the sky that it has managed to eliminate on the ground".

This joint management should make it possible for sectors to be subdivided and for routes to be established regardless of frontiers. The division of airspace between civil and military aviation needed to take account of the new geopolitical realities and form part of a consistent and efficient framework. The Commission believes that these goals can be achieved through Eurocontrol, especially with Community membership. However, should such coordination prove inadequate, it believes that other, more radical options will have to be envisaged, implying a political commitment by the Member States at the highest level.

To map out the action required both at national and European level, Mrs de Palacio recommends the following: setting up a high level working party chaired by herself, to which the Member States would be asked to appoint their civil and military representatives. The working party would also consider alternative solutions and would put forward its recommendations within six months. There would also need to be in-depth dialogue with the two sides of industry, as the main users of the airspace management system. The Commission has undertaken to report back on progress within six months.

ETSC voiced its concerns recently about the safety in and around airports.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

European airline industry


Jacqueline Foster (EPP,UK), as the Committee on Legal Affairs and the Internal Market's rapporteur, opened the exchange of views on the Commission's communication on 'European airline industry: from single market to world-wide challenges'.

Ms Foster emphasised the need for a reduction of military occupation of airspace in times of peace, horizontal and vertical separation in the air, and other means of reducing congestion.

Mr. Lamassoure (EPP,F) suggested that some emphasis should be given in the opinion to the pioneering and, in ETSC's view much needed, safety role to be played by the EU in the airline industry.

The proposal goes to the Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism of the European Parliament for its opinion in January.

MARITIME & INLAND WATERWAY SAFETY

Working time


The European Parliament has approved the agreement of the Social Partners to include the shipping sector into the Working Time Directive, which is designed around the International Labour Organisation Convention n180. The agreement will also cover protection for non-EU seafarers and will have to be complied with by non-EU ship owners.

RAIL SAFETY

EUROPEAN COMMISSION


The Commission has adopted a revised package of railway proposals which will be submitted to the next Transport Council on 9th December. The three main elements of the proposals are:

  • a definition of a Trans European Rail freight network that includes all important rail corridors, ports and terminals;
  • a clear division between the operation of railway services and the management of railway infrastructure;
  • the requirement of the highest level of safety as regards personnel, rolling stock and organisation.

The first new proposal consists of a Directive to amend Dir 91/440/EC to clarify the separation of accounts of infrastructure management and of railway undertakings and require the separation of railway infrastructure management and railway operations. The second widens the scope of Directive 95/18/EC on the licensing of railway undertakings to cover all railway undertakings of significant size operating in the EU. It requires that the highest level of safety is provided. The third proposal is to replace directive 95/19/EC which would establish rules relating to the determination of charges. A regulatory body would be required to ensure that the rules and processes are followed. Member States would be required to provide that a safety certificate in which the railway undertakings safety requirements are set out be submitted.

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

The Committee on Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism of the European Parliament voted at first reading without any amendments for a report from its Chairman, Kostas Hatzidakis (EPP/G) on the approximation of laws of Member States regarding the transport of dangerous goods by rail. There were transitional provisions expiring on January 1, 1999 in the EU Directive 96/49/EC for derogations and exemptions including the construction, use and condition of carriage of new tanks and receptacles for the transport of gas. These will now be prolonged until July 1, 2001.

ETSC NEWS

Report on safety in and around airports


In a new briefing circulated to policymakers throughout Europe, ETSC has called for effective EU initiatives to manage risks in and around airports.

In the last 10 years, over 80 per cent of jet aircraft fleet crashes globally occurred during take off and landing phases. These accounted for 58 per cent of all deaths onboard and all third party deaths. Recent trends in technology, traffic growth (predicted 168 per cent increase over 20 years) and the environment are converging to increase exposure to risk.

The report notes that currently, there is a strong trend towards privatisation of airports and Air Traffic Services providers. Airports in many European countries are not licensed primarily because they are, or used to be state-owned. Accountability for safety in and around airports is, at present, too diffuse to facilitate an effective response to the emerging safety issues. ETSC's principal recommendations for action at EU level are:

  • Mandatory airport licensing (including a requirement to establish, maintain and ensure compliance with an integrated safety management programme involving all relevant partners);
  • Mandatory collection of data on ground-based incidents;
  • Mandatory inclusion of third party risk in Environmental Impact Statements for airports;
  • Common standards for the safety assessment of operations;
  • Research to bridge current gaps in knowledge.

Professor Peter Jorna (NLR), Chairman of ETSC's Air Safety Working Party said: "The purpose of our briefing is twofold. Firstly it is to draw attention to the concerns of independent air safety experts about emerging trends and the challenges they pose for safety in and around airports. Secondly, to put forward an agenda of possible EU actions for consideration by policymakers and airport authorities."

Dr. Nick McDonald (Trinity College, Dublin), a contributor to the ETSC safety policy briefing said: "In view of the multi-organisational nature of risks in the operation of airports, the lack of a mechanism to integrate safety standards and practices and the different actors in and around the airport has a potentially detrimental effect on safety."

Dieter Koch MEP (Co-Chairman of ETSC's Main Council):"Safety in and around airports is clearly a key issue which needs to be addressed at European level. Steps need to be taken now to ensure that the risk areas around these hubs of the air transport system are properly managed to ensure the future safety of air industry personnel, passengers and local residents."

Mark Watts MEP (Co-Chairman of ETSC's Main Council) said: "The third party risk to people living around airports is comparable to the risk around chemical plants, which are strictly regulated. An EU airport licensing framework would provide the strict regulatory oversight which is so badly needed".

Report on post crash care to reduce road deaths and disability

A new ETSC review compiled by leading medical experts in Europe concludes that several thousand road deaths across the EU might be prevented by optimal post-impact care. The state of the art review of post impact care recommends a series of actions at EU and national levels. The key conclusions are:

  • Some road casualties sustain injuries, which are unsurvivable in any circumstances and with any type of care, but the majority of crashes are technically survivable.
  • Research shows that the quality of post-crash management of road casualties has an important influence on whether the casualty survives or incurs disability.
  • Differences in emergency care may be contributing to the large variations in fatality risk amongst Member States.

Professor Walter Buylaert, Chairman of ETSC's Post Impact Care Working Party said: "The health sector has a key role to play in reducing the number of deaths and disabilities following road crashes. While optimal post impact care is a relatively under-researched road safety strategy, studies show that the quality and effectiveness of emergency medical care is fundamental to the chance and quality of survival."

Professor Herman Delooz, President of the European Society for Emergency Medicine and a member of ETSC's Working Party said: "If we are going to realise the ultimate goal of avoiding preventable post crash death, limiting injury severity and re-integrating the crash victim into the community, then this area needs much greater attention from health professionals and policymakers than it has received to date."

The key recommendations of the review to improve the chain of help to patients injured in road crashes are directed both at the EU and Member States. They include:

  • The European emergency number 112 (in addition to the national number) should be applied by all EU countries.
  • National Highway Codes should include advice on how lay bystanders can assist. EU information exchange on best practice should be carried out concerning the type and operation of emergency medical dispatch systems.
  • EU research is needed to ascertain the right balance between action at the scene and during transport versus emergency and surgical treatment after arrival in hospital.
  • Better training standards could be defined at EU level for ambulance drivers and emergency medical technicians.
  • EU research-based guidelines on a range of issues associated with hospital trauma care'
  • Member States should collect data for auditing the performance of the Emergency Medical Services. The EU-financed European Home and Leisure Accident Surveillance System (EHLASS) would provide one appropriate and possible mechanism for carrying this out. The Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) should be used in hospitals to record injury severity and post-injury measures of disability need to be included in routine hospital statistics.
  • Regulations to be formulated for performing post mortems in all road traffic fatalities.
  • Best practice should be identified and information exchange carried out in rehabilitation treatment programmes.

ETSC secretariat

  • Pam Lewis joined ETSC in November as Research Officer from the UK Transport Research Laboratory.
  • gelique Tonnaer joined ETSC in October for five months as Stagiaire.

ETSC annual events

  • The 2nd European Transport Safety Lecture "Safer transport in Europe: tools for decision-making" with Professor Murray Mackay OBE, DSc, FREng and officials of the EC and EP on Tuesday 25th January 2000. Invitation only.
  • Best in Europe Road Safety Conference - Brussels Symposium (30th May. Details available shortly).

INTERNATIONAL EVENTS DIARY

9-11 February 2000
International Summit on Air Traffic Control, Kingsway Hall London, United Kingdom. Organised by Air Traffic Control 2000. To register Tel: + 44 171 430 7300; Fax: +44 171 430 7301; freephone: 0500 821 057 (UK); E-mail: atc@iqpc.co.uk; Internet: www.iqpc.co.uk/transport
5-8 March 2000
5th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Control, New Delhi, India. Contact: Ms. Arati Walia, Tel: + 91 11 691 9377; Fax: +91 11 684 8343; E-mail: awconfer@del2.vsnl.net.in
18-21 May 2000
Fourth International Conference Global Safety: Traffic Safety - Occupational Safety, Bled, Slovenia. Organised by the Slovene Road Safety Council, DVR a/o. Contact: Kristina Abrahamsberg, Tel: + 386 61 132 02 53 Ext. 217; Fax: + 386 61 312 562; E-mail: kristina.abrahamsberg@zvd.si
22-26 May 2000
15th International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety, T 2000, Stockholm, Sweden. Organised by ICADTS. Contact the Secretariat: Tel: +46 243 753 59; Fax: +46 243 759. E-mail: t2000@vv.se; Internet: www.ICADTS2000.com.
7-9 June 2000
Vehicle Safety 2000, London, UK. Organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (Automobile Division), Contact Anna Chapman, Tel: + 44 171 973 1291; Fax: +44 171 222 98814
14-16 June 2000
2nd International Symposium on Geometric Design of Highways. Organised by TRB (USA) and FGSV (Germany), Mainz, Germany. E-mail: FGSV@netcologne.de; Internet: www.verkehr.bi.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/englisch/Current/current.htm.
4-7 Sept. 2000
International Conference on Traffic and Transport Psychology, Bern, Switzerland. Organised by the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention (Bfu). Contact: ICTTP c/o bfu, Fax: +41 31 390 22 30; E-mail: icttp@bfu.ch.
6-8 Sept. 2000
Icrash 2000, International Crashworthiness Conference, London, UK. Organised by the International Journal of Crashworthiness, the Bolton Institute. Contact: Lorna Hollingham, Icrash 2000 Conference, Faculty of Technology, The Bolton Institute, Dean Road, Bolton BL3 5AB, United Kingdom, Tel: +44 1204 903834, Fax: +44 1204 381107; E-mail: lh2@bolton.ac.uk; Internet: www.technology.bolton.ac.uk/icrash2000.
20-22 Sept. 2000
The International Research Council on the Biomechanics of Impact organises the 2000 IRCOBI Conference on the Biomechanics of Impact, in Montpellier (France). Contact: Antoinette Charpenne, IRCOBI Secretariat/INRETS, 25 avenue Francois Mitterand, Case 24, 69675 BRON Cedex, France, Tel. +33 4 72 14 24 20, fax: +33 4 72 14 23 60, E-mail : charpenne@ inrets.fr.