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The Portuguese Presidency

  • Presents transport policy priorities to the Parliament's REGI Committee. MEPs welcome safety priorities and urge early and substantial action

The European Commission

  • EU Transport Commissioner to present the road safety communication later this month

  • Statement of principles expected on minimising risks to safety of new telematic road transport applications

  • Equasis Agreement for a database on maritime safety

  • First meeting of high-level group on creation of single European airspace

The European Parliament

  • Motor vehicles: Approval of new standards on interior fittings in second reading

  • Parliament adopts two reports on dangerous goods: transport of dangerous goods by road in first reading and training for safety advisors for transport of dangerous goods by road, rail or inland waterways in second reading.


Portuguese Minister Jorge Coelho, President of the EU Transport Council outlined the Presidency's transport priorities to Parliament's Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism Committee on 25 January 2000. Transport safety issues are high on the agenda and the Presidency hoped that the March and June Council meetings would deliver results.

  • Road safety: Mr Coelho said that European roads were the stage of a virtual war but with very real victims. The situation was catastrophic in Portugal, with approximately 2000 deaths each year. Elsewhere in Europe the numbers of fatalities were no less alarming and courageous and co-ordinated measures were needed on behalf of governments and industry. That required a real Peace Treaty to reverse this dramatic situation.

    He hoped that in the near future the Commission would not only present its Communication on this matter, allowing the establishment of EU action priorities in short and long term, but also specific proposals, in particular the proposal for a Directive on maximum EU alcohol limits.

    In the debate which followed, there were many calls of support for further action on road safety. Brian Simpson (PSE, UK) welcomed the Presidency stance on road safety and said it was time for the Commission to come forward with substantial measures which would make a difference. One example was a common blood alcohol limit.

    Per Stenmarck (PPE, S) called for an upper EU speed limit in addition to blood alcohol.

    Dieter Koch (PPE, D) welcomed the priority attention envisaged for transport safety and said further harmonisation was necessary.

    Emmanouil Matorakis (PSE, G) wanted to draw attention to poor quality of standards and statistics in transport safety. Research was needed urgently.

    Mark Watts (PSE, UK) said that the road of safety was always paved with good intentions, but in general not enough was being done. Since safety was a top priority of the Presidency, the Committee needed to be assured that something would be done on blood alcohol and on safer car fronts for pedestrians and cyclists.

    Joined by Dutch MEPs Theodorus Bouwman (Green/Ale NL) and Rijk van Dam (EDD, NL), Brian Simpson (PSE, UK) called for continued attention to resolving the matter of working time in the road sector. Mr Coelho reported that the current impasse was to do with problems mainly on self-employed workers and on the definition of working time. This item was not on the Presidency agenda since sufficient progress was not anticipated before the end of the term.

  • Maritime safety: Mr Coelho said that the shipwreck of the oil tanker Erika meant that continued effort needed to be made to improve maritime safety. The Presidency would give the highest priority to any new measures emerging from the European Commission. He was expecting two new proposals, one on the safety of loading and unloading ship bulk carriers in European ports and a proposal for the establishment of a Committee of Maritime Safety. The purpose of the latter was to create the necessary conditions for more effective regulatory action within community legislation.
  • Air transport: Mr Coelho also said that safety was a fundamental concern in the field of aviation. The Presidency had already started working towards the clarification of the institutional model for a European authority for air safety. This was an initiative that the Presidency, Member States and industry wished to start in the near future.

    Work on a European charter for the protection of travellers' rights was being carried out by the Commission. The Presidency supported this idea with enthusiasm and expected to reach concrete results in the coming months, on the basis of a Communication to be presented by the Commission.

    Following a question from Georg Jarzembowski (PPE, D), on the establishment of a European Air Safety Authority, Mr Coelho said that this was essential for the safety of air users. However, there were currently differing views as to whether this body should be an EU agency or an international body. He said a debate on the options was planned for the March Transport Council.

    Dirk Sterckx (ELDR, B) added that air safety would also benefit from arrangements for a uniform air traffic management system via Eurocontrol.

    Joaquim Miranda (GUE/NGL, P) believed that the extent to which more competition in the air transport industry could influence accident frequency needed to be investigated.

    Jacqueline Foster (EPP, UK), however, expressed caution in relation to the setting up of the air safety authority. She did not want the aviation industry to become a victim of environmental and safety concerns.

  • Rail transport: Mr Coelho also underlined the positive impact which he hoped to obtain from the measures in the railway package, approved at the Council meeting of last December (See Safety Monitor 29). For a scenario in which rail could play a preponderant role it was crucial not only to remove the bottlenecks but also to reduce technical barriers in the European rail network.

    In this same context, the Council was currently examining a proposal for a Directive on the interoperability of the railway system which, could be approved in first reading before June.
  • European satellite navigation system: The GALILEO programme was a major challenge for the EU, ensuring its independence in an essential strategic field, advancing its industrial and technological creativity, with considerable potential for job creation. This was currently in the definition phase, with formal contacts being undertaken with the Russian Federation and the USA.
  • Trans-European networks: Work was continuing on a policy of intermodal and sustainable interoperability with attention being paid to environmental, safety and quality needs.

Transport safety - EU applicant countries

The Accession Conference at Ministerial level of 7 December 1999 with Cyprus, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia led to adoption of common positions (see Safety Monitor 28). Within the common positions the section on Transport Policy for the applicant countries covers the following:

  • Encouragement on the part of the EU to accelerate the alignment of applicant country policies with the "acquis" and its effective implementation.

  • Horizontal Issues where the EU notes that applicant countries have agreed to comply with EU international transport conventions and to introduce technical modifications to allow the extension of the trans-European transport network.

  • Air Transport where the full adoption and implementation of the air transport "acquis" and, in particular, reaching the level of technical harmonisation qualifying for full membership of the Joint Aviation Authorities, should mean full access to the Community air transport market.

  • Maritime Transport where countries with fleets must achieve a safety record corresponding to the current EU average, and continue to perform port state control at a qualitative level corresponding to EU practice.


At the end of March, the Special European Council of Lisbon devoted to employment, economic reform and social cohesion will consider the new Commission communication 'eEurope: An Information Society for all'. In preparation for this meeting, the Commission will produce a Progress Report, which will be placed on the eEurope website (see Safety Monitor 29).

Training of safety advisers – dangerous goods

The Council common position on the proposal designed to improve safety standards for the carriage of dangerous goods was approved at the Plenary of 18 January 2000 at second reading. The legislation lays down training standards for safety advisors and at first reading the Council had adopted several parliamentary amendments aimed at strengthening the safety provisions. (See also Safety Monitor 28).



Working time – road transport

The Council and the European Parliament carried out consultations in the informal Social Affairs meeting in Lisbon in February to prepare for the forthcoming formal Conciliation Committee meeting on the organisation of working time to cover sectors and activities excluded from Directive 93/104/EC.

Parallel agreement on global technical regulations for vehicles adopted

The Council has now adopted the proposal for a Parallel agreement on global technical regulations for vehicles (See Safety Monitor 29).

EU Whole Vehicle Type Approval

At the Economic/Finance Council meeting of 28 February 2000, the Council adopted without debate decisions on the position to be taken by the EC on the following draft regulations of the UN/ECE :

-approval of motor vehicle headlamps emitting a symmetrical passing beam or a driving beam or both and equipped with filament lamps;

-approval of specific components of motor vehicles using compressed natural gas in their propulsion systems and of vehicles with regard to the installation of specific components of an approved type for the use of compressed natural gas in their propulsion systems;

-uniform provisions for the approval of certain types of tank vehicles (categories N and O) with regard to roll-over stability.


Mrs de Palacio proposes reversal to EU policy on blood alcohol limits

EU Transport Commissioner, Loyola de Palacio told the Parliament's Regional Policy, Transport and Tourism Committee on 26 January 2000 that while she hoped it would be possible to come forward with a proposal on safer car fronts for pedestrians and cyclists, setting blood alcohol limits for road safety was a matter for Member States. A Commission proposal has been on the table since 1988 and Parliament recently invited the Commission to update it.

The Commissioner's statement has astonished MEPs and road safety organisations alike. In a letter to MEPs, ETSC said that this would be a lost opportunity to save 1000 lives annually. It would be against the wish of the Portuguese Presidency which has been expressed so clearly in favour. It would run contrary to successive road safety opinions of the European Parliament. And while the Commissioner cited subsidiarity as a reason for not wanting to proceed, Directives already existed in other similar areas such as seat belt use. This was a clear case where EU action could add value to the road safety efforts of Member States.

Telematics: safety guidelines

With the aim of encouraging Member States and industry to act together to avoid telematic road transport systems presenting any risk to drivers, the Commission has taken a first step in drafting a declaration of European principles to give guidance for the safe design of new equipment. This includes on-board navigation, guidance and real time road information systems, and car-phones. To avoid such developments being harmful to safety, i.e. drivers being distracted or overloaded with information the Commission recognises, as a first step, the need to outline principles enhancing road safety.

Some Member States have already introduced provision on this. The draft declaration due to be approved by the Commission this month covers broad safety issues that should be taken into account – most of all by manufacturers – on man/machine interfaces for on-board information and communication systems. Design and installation are key considerations.

In its report last year on intelligent transport applications and road safety (see, ETSC noted the limitations of this action which does not cover the all important problem of means of compliance, and recommended further EU action.


Transport of dangerous goods by road

In the Parliament's plenary of 18 January 2000 MEPs approved the Commission proposal updating a 1994 Directive on safety standards for tanks and vessels used to transport gasses and other dangerous materials in first reading. A series of amendments were adopted including those concerning the implementation of the legislation or 'comitology' (See Safety Monitors 28/29).

Interior fittings of motor vehicles

In the Parliament's plenary of 18 January 2000 second reading approval was given to the common position designed to bring EU standards on the interior fittings of motor-vehicles into line with international regulations. This deals with electronic windows improving provisions particularly with regard to child safety (See Safety Monitors 28/29).

Roadworthiness test for commercial vehicles

In the Parliament's plenary of 14 March 2000 two amendments on technical roadside inspection of the roadworthiness of commercial vehicles circulating in the Community by rapporteur Wilhelm Ernst Pieckyk (PSE, D) were approved. The first stated that commercial vehicles should be used only if they are maintained to full technical roadworthiness instead of a high degree of technical roadworthiness. The second stipulated: "Member States shall draw up arrangements for the penalties applicable where a driver or undertaking fails to abide by the technical requirements verified on the basis of this Directive. They shall take all necessary measures to ensure that these penalties are enforced. The penalties thus provided for shall be effective, proportionate and dissuasive" (see Safety Monitor 28)



Safety of vessels

A Commission Communication is expected before the summer on improving existing legislation on the liability of ship owners and marine authorities, the use of dual-hulled tankers, crew training and conditions of employment and the creation of a database covering the global fleet (see below).

Signature of Equasis Agreement for a database on maritime safety

On 28 January 2000, the European Commission, the maritime administrations of France, United Kingdom, Spain, Singapore and the US Coast Guard signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the setting up of the Equasis information system. Equasis will be a database collecting safety-related information on the world's merchant fleet from both public and private sources and making it easily accessible on the Internet. The launch is planned for May 2000 and the internet address will be



European Civil Aviation Conference

On January 28 2000 Transport Ministers from the 38 member countries of the ECAC agreed that air traffic operations could be improved by a combination of European and national measures. Mr Leuenberger, Swiss Federal Counsellor on Transport said that besides delays and airport congestion, he also acknowledged that growth in air traffic has repercussions for the environment and safety.

Mr Auer, President of the ECAC said that the privatisation of air traffic control was not on the conference agenda and suggested that air transport should be regarded as a public service. Short-term measures will be the implementation of an improved traffic flow management system from the end of 2001 and the introduction in 2002 of navigation corridors and additional radio frequencies. For the long term the session permitted Ministers to update their strategy in dealing with the probable increase in demand by 2015


Common aviation area EU/US

During the presentation of the results of the Beyond Open Skies conference of December 1999 to the Council, the Transport Commissioner asked for a mandate for the European Commission to negotiate a transatlantic common aviation area.

At the moment a technical dialogue between the two parties is taking place and the mandate is expected to be given during the French Presidency in the second half of 2000 (see Safety Monitor 29).

Single European airspace

The first meeting of the high-level group on the creation of a single European airspace held in Brussels on January 2 2000, yielded a consensus on the objectives, mandate and work programme for the coming months. The Commission announced its intention to introduce proposals which will be examined over the second half of the year. Group members were divided between six working parties: air traffic management; air traffic control; regulatory framework; need to separate functions; support measures and incentives; and human factors. At its second meeting of February 17 2000, the main topics were separation of duties and provision of services.

The high level working group which was set up at the meeting of 9 and 10 December 1999 by the European Ministers of Transport will submit an initial report on Air Traffic Control to the next Transport Council of 28 March 2000.


European airline industry

On March 21-23, 2000 the Regional, Transport and Tourism Committee of the European Parliament will vote on the report from Mr Dirk Sterckx (ELDR, B) on the Commission's Communication on the European airline industry: competitiveness, from single market to world-wide challenges. The communication's aim is two-fold : to assess the progress which has been made and second to identify the initiatives which can contribute to the competitiveness of the industry. The communication calls for e.g. more efficient harmonisation of safety rules through the creation of a European Aviation Safety Authority and setting up of databases.

Mrs Jacqueline Foster's (PPE, UK) opinion on behalf of the Industry, External Trade and Research Committee, adopted on February 29, 2000 calls for the former Committee to include, amongst other things: the setting up of an independent European body, the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA); points out that, in order to ensure that respect for safety rules and the imperative need for safety override any other considerations, air traffic control must remain a public service; and offers a strong support for the Galileo project.


New international review of safety policies for pedestrians and cyclists in urban areas

  • More than 9,000 pedestrians and cyclists are killed each year in EU countries; most are children or older road users; most are involved in crashes in urban and residential areas; many of these crashes could be avoided and many serious and fatal injuries reduced.

  • Policies to encourage walking and cycling need to be safety-oriented or this casualty problem will get worse.

  • Urban traffic systems and design of vehicles rarely give sufficient attention to the safety needs of pedestrians and cyclists. Speed management is a key element in a safe traffic system for vulnerable road users.

  • Demonstrably effective measures should be taken at EU level (vehicle engineering Directives such as safer car fronts for pedestrians and cyclists and the promotion of best practice) and at national and local level (implementation of highway and road user measures) to make walking and cycling safer.

These were the conclusions of a new ETSC report, "The safety of pedestrians and cyclists in urban areas" prepared by independent experts from across Europe. The report identifies best practice internationally and makes recommendations for initiatives by the EU and Member States.

Chairman of the review Professor Rudolf Günther said: "It should be a high priority for those responsible for traffic systems in our urban areas to cater much better for the needs and physical vulnerabilities of pedestrians and cyclists, including people with reduced mobility. Walking and cycling are otherwise healthy and environmentally-friendly means of transport, but the risks of death and injury are higher than for all other modes except motorcycling."

Co-editor of the review, Professor Richard Allsop said: "By implementing known countermeasures it should be possible to achieve considerable increases in walking and cycling and still reduce the numbers of deaths and injuries among pedestrians and cyclists. However, much deeper commitment is needed from policymakers at local, national and EU levels to bring about improvements in the safety of vulnerable road users."

Jeanne Breen, Executive Director, ETSC said: "At EU level, legislation requiring safer car fronts for pedestrians and pedal cyclists on new car designs is an important action that could be taken now to improve road safety. If cars on the road now met EEVC tests then up to 2,000 deaths and 19,000 serious injuries to pedestrians and cyclists would be prevented annually. The socio-economic cost of the injuries and lives that could be saved is over 6 billion euro."


For action by Member States and Local Authorities

  • Give priority to the safety and convenience of walking and cycling in policymaking for planning, development and transport in urban areas, and in the implementation of development plans and the maintenance and enhancement of the transport and traffic systems of towns and cities.

For action by EU

  • Give priority to the safety and convenience of walking and cycling in all aspects of policymaking relevant to planning, development and transport in urban areas and encourage Member States and Local Authorities to do likewise.

Legislation and standards

  • Bring forward mandatory EU fitment requirements for:
    1. safer car fronts for pedestrians and cyclists incorporating all EEVC test procedures
    2. closed sideguards on all new heavy goods vehicles
    3. daytime running lights for motor vehicles.
  • Introduce EU Whole Vehicle Type Approval for cycles incorporating a range of technical safety criteria
  • Develop a European standard for cycle child seats and promote the use of cycle helmets for which a European standard (EN 1708) already exists.

Best practice guidelines and information exchange

  • Encourage information exchange to promote better conditions for walking and cycling through development of EU technical guidelines for professionals particularly on:
    1. ways of providing for walking and cycling
    2. safety audit and safety impact assessment
    3. urban safety management
    4. speed management
    5. low cost/high return road safety engineering measures
    6. training and encouragement for drivers in helping the integration of pedestrians and cyclists into the traffic system
    7. initial and in-service training in the integration of pedestrians and cyclists for those involved in road safety education and training, driver training and the enforcement of traffic law
    8. road safety education and training at pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary levels, emphasising activity as pedestrians and cyclists
    9. education and training of elderly road users
    10. in-service training for professionals in providing facilities for walking and cycling all in the context of the interdisciplinary approach that the task requires.
  • Develop and disseminate advice on sensible road use via a European Highway Code summarising the common and differing traffic laws applying to road users in different Member States.
  • Give continued support including more financial support to Euro NCAP.

Data collection

  • Encourage Member States to collect exposure data on pedestrian and cyclist travel and include it in the CARE database (Community databank on road crashes and casualties in Europe).
  • Regularly ascertain the level of under-reporting and extend the EHLAS (European Home and Leisure Accident Surveillance system) database to include road collision reporting.



18-21 May 2000

4th 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:

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:, Internet:

28-31 May 2000

17th World Congress of the International Association for Accident and Traffic Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden. Contact Gerd Nyman. Fax: +46 8 30 25 07, E-mail:, Internet:

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:, Internet:

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:

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:; Internet:

12 Sept. 2000

"Best in Europe: road safety conference" Brussels symposium, ETSC,

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@

20-22 Sept. 2000

Traffic Safety on Three Continents, 11th International Conference organised by the South African council for Scientific & Industrial Research, Technikon-Pretoria, Swedish Road and Transport Research Institute, US Transportation Research Board and Federal Highway Institute in the CSIR Conference Centre Pretoria, South Africa. Contact VTI, Kenneth Asp SE-58195 Linkoping Sweden, Tel: +46 13 20 40 00, Fax: +46 13 12 61 62, E-mail:

ETSC is grateful for the financial support provided for the Safety Monitor by:

  • DG VII European Commission
  • BP Amoco
  • Ford of Europe
  • KeyMed
  • Railtrack
  • Scania
  • Shell International

The contents of the Safety Monitor are the sole responsibility of ETSC and do not necessarily reflect the views of its sponsors.