Press release
11 September 2000



On the day before the European Parliament discusses how the high risks of road deaths on EU roads can be reduced, senior policymakers and Europe's leading road safety experts in Brussels will come together on Tuesday to share information on successful measures which have been implemented to reduce road crashes and injuries.

ETSC's first annual showcase of best practice in road safety in Europe, to be launched by Loyola de Palacio, Vice-President of the European Commission and EU Transport Commissioner, chaired by Herman De Croo MP, President of the Chamber of Representatives of the Belgian Parliament and Ewa Hedkvist Petersen MEP, road safety rapporteur for the European Parliament, and addressed by Isabelle Durant, Deputy Prime-Minister will highlight examples of actions which have reduced deaths and injuries on EU roads. For example, how:

  • programmes with numerical road casualty reduction targets in the Nordic countries, the UK and the Netherlands have saved many lives and the urgent need for an EU wide target to the year 2010;
  • the central and local government partnership in the Netherlands is resulting in 35 per cent of residential roads being turned into life-saving self-enforcing 30 km/h zones with low cost physical measures by the year 2002;
  • driver licensing measures to reduce young novice driver risk have resulted in a 15% reduction in accident risk amongst 18-19 year olds in Sweden and a 19% reduction in novice driver crashes in Austria. Combined publicity and police enforcement activities in Germany reduced alcohol–related crashes in the pilot study areas by over 27%;
  • strategic urban safety management comprising a wide range of measures has been applied in 10 European towns leading in the case of Baden, Austria, to a 60% reduction in road crashes in just 15 years;
  • the European New Car Assessment Programme which provides objective consumer information on new car crash performance had led to improved car occupant designs while highlighting with every release of crash test results the urgent need for EU legislation on safer car fronts to save pedestrians and cyclists; and
  • the best prospects for the future currently being developed will lie in the in-vehicle technology which will assist drivers in keeping to speed limits and, in so doing, will bring about substantial reductions in casualties.

Professor Herman De Croo MP, President of the Chamber of Representatives of the Belgian Parliament and Chairman of the ETSC Board will say: "We know we can and will have to make road transport much safer and we are showing today examples of what can be achieved when we get our thinking right and when there is political will."

Ewa Hedkvist Petersen MEP and road safety rapporteur of the European Parliament will say: "The 42,500 deaths and thousands of disabilities resulting from crashes on EU roads are largely avoidable and totally unacceptable. Clearly, road safety is a shared responsibility at EU, national and local levels for the design, operation, and use of the traffic system and there needs to be strong political leadership to deliver at all those levels."

In her closing speech, Isabelle Durant, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and Minister of Mobility and Transport will say: "I commend the ETSC and the Commission's work to promote road safety in Europe. Safety needs to be at the core of the EU's transport policies, as the Council stressed in its resolution of 26 June, more than it has been in the past. Safety should be stated explicitly as a principal objective of the EU's common transport policies, and further emphasis placed on a rational, systematic and integrated approach."

Notes for Editors:

  1. Every year road crashes kill 42,500 EU citizens, cause over 3.5 million casualties, cost over 166 billion Euros (more than pollution, congestion, heart disease or cancer), and lead to 90% of all transport deaths and costs. Road crashes are the leading cause of death and hospital admission for citizens under 45 years. For further information: See ETSC's website press releases/27/5/00 (see statistical tables).
  2. The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) is an international non-governmental organisation dedicated to the reduction of the number and severity of transport crash injuries in Europe. Founded in 1993, ETSC provides an impartial source of expert advice on transport safety matters to the European Commission, the European Parliament, and Member States.

  3. Broadcast quality video information is available from the ETSC secretariat for several of the road safety measures mentioned.

  4. The Best in Europe Road Safety Conference takes place on Tuesday September 12, 2000 at the Hotel Europa Inter-Continental, Rue de la Loi 107, 1040 Brussels.

ETSC, September 2000