Members: DVR

The German Road Safety Council (Deutscher Verkehrssicherheitsrat e.V. - DVR) and its members have been working successfully for the past 34 years to make Germany's roads safer. Since DVR was founded in 1969, the number of fatal road accidents has been reduced by more than the half, despite the fact that there has been an increase of the number of vehicles on the roads.

The aim of the German Road Safety Council is to promote, coordinate and reinforce all measures designed to improve road safety.

The task of the Council is to initiate new measures, to manage new projects and to coordinate the safety work at national level. In the main office in Bonn, 45 employees support the implementation of this work.

The establishment of the German Road Safety Council led to the introduction of two fundamental changes in road safety work:

For the first time in Germany, an organizational structure which brought together all relevant social groups has been created to carry out road safety work by joining the public efforts. More than 270 institutions from the public and the private sectors are now members of the German Road Safety Council. The membership include the Government, the Federal States, the Work Accident Insurance Associations, the automobile manufacturers, the automobile clubs, churches, the fuel industry, the technical inspection bodies, the insurance sector, the police forces and employers' associations.

As a consequence of all these social groups joining efforts, it was possible to carry out a homogeneous and comprehensive road safety activity throughout the country. The programmes and measures could then be implemented in a uniform way at local level.

Because of the membership structure, access is given to experts of all disciplines. Right from the beginning, DVR had an interdisciplinary approach in its prevention work, not only in the fields of law and regulation, road safety infrastructure and technology, vehicle safety and medical care, but also in the fields of safety education and information.

Renowned scientists have been involved in the development of the DVR road safety programmes. They have been implemented for many years now. During this time, they have been supervised and re-adapted several times.

Any improvement in road safety can only be achieved by taking a systematic, multidisciplinary approach and involving technical experts and lawyers in the same way as psychologists, medical experts, and social scientists.

Public information and education is one of DVR's main tasks. All road safety work is based on promoting a spirit of partnership and on encouraging all road users to take responsibility for their actions. In close cooperation with its members, DVR has developed specific target group programmes to reach road users in a more direct way, as for example during parents' evenings at pre-scholar institutions, at senior citizens' events or by offering practical training courses. Among these programmes you will find, among others, the "Children and Traffic" programme, "Elderly Active Motorists" and "Elderly Pedestrians and Road Traffic", as well as road safety training programmes for motorists, drivers of heavy goods vehicles, coach drivers, drivers of dangerous goods, motorcyclists, cyclists and other road user groups.

These programmes are implemented in each case by some member associations of the DVR. The "Children and Traffic" programme - to quote just one of those offered - is implemented through 12,000 to 15,000 events every year which are attended by parents and pre-school children. These events are carried out by 1,500 specifically trained instructors of the DVR.

DVR provides important recommendations with regard to legal and technical aspects of road safety to urban planners, local authorities and policymakers. In formulating these recommendations, the German Road Safety Council recognizes that legislative measures are of vital significance to road safety. At the same time, however, it works on the principle that, whilst traffic law provides a regulatory framework, excessive regulation must be avoided, as it leads to passivity on the part of the road user. Technical innovations are examined in terms of the safety they offer to the road user and - with this in mind - in terms of the ease with which they can be mastered.

A particularly important aspect of DVR's work are the road safety activities at company level. Since the early 1980s, the Work Accident Insurance Associations and the German Road Safety Council have been running a joint programme entitled "Safety for all road users" aimed at employees in companies and enterprises. Since then, a significant reduction in the number of serious accidents occurring on the way to and from work could be observed. Cooperation with the Work Accident Insurance Associations focuses on integral road safety concepts. The aim is to use global strategies to reduce the number of accidents at work, on the road, in the home and during leisure time. The German Road Safety Council's safety work is very much welcome by the companies involved, since the programmes contribute to safety at work, to road safety and to health protection, and therefore it provides the companies with significant financial savings.

DVR's work is backed up with intensive public relations work, as well as media cooperation projects and campaigns.

The current debate on mobility opens up new prospects for road safety work in the future. Motorists in particular must be persuaded to reconsider their attitude to road and vehicle use.

One of the main priorities is to promote a sensible approach to the use of the automobile. In the first instance, this could involve driving in an ecologically and economically conscious way, but it should also include the appropriate choice of the transport mode. The German Road Safety Council has developed concepts that can be used by companies to train their staff in such issues.

International cooperation has also an important role to play. Europe is currently in a phase of enormous changes. Borders between countries have disappeared or have changed, and the increasing traffic flows cause new problems and challenges.

The German Road Safety Council is one of the co-founders of the European Traffic Safety Council (ETSC), which was formed in 1993 in response to the persistent and unacceptably high European road casualty toll. DVR is also involved in co-operations with many countries both in Europe and beyond. The German Road Safety Council's particular organization structure and its efficient road safety work have earned a high reputation on national and international level.

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