Road Safety in the EU: Time for Decisive Action - EU monitor

EU monitor
Thursday, November 21, 2019
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Source: V. (Violeta) Bulc i, published on Friday, April 1 2016.

Every death or serious injury is one too many. We have achieved impressive results in reducing road fatalities over the last decades but the current stagnation is alarming. If Europe is to reach its objective of halving road fatalities by 2020, much more needs to be done. I invite Member States to step up efforts in terms of enforcement and campaigning. For its part, the Commission will continue to act where it can bring a clear European added-value.

Last week's tragic events in Brussels as well as road accidents, such as the horrific bus crash 10 days ago in Spain, sadly remind us of the fragility of human life. Human life that can be so suddenly short, with no notice at all. Let me be clear: road safety is not about numbers or percentages. Behind each and every number there is a story. A story about real people, their family members, friends and neighbours.

In the past few decades the EU has made great progress in this field. Between 2001 and 2010, we cut the number of road deaths by 43%. The number of fatalities was again reduced by another 17% since 2010. There’s no doubt that these are impressive achievements we can be proud of. Still today, Europe has the lowest fatality rate for any region in the world.

Despite the good work we have done in the past, the latest figures are disappointing. Since 2013, we haven't managed to reduce the number of victims on our roads. To make matters even worse - provisional figures indicate that potentially even more people died in 2015, compared to 2014. Last year 26.000 people lost their lives on our roads. That is 70 people per day. Such numbers are not acceptable, and every death on the road is one too many.

Not only do people die on our roads, but many more are seriously injured every single day. In 2015, for the first time, we have collected harmonised statistics on serious injuries from the EU Member States. The reporting on serious injuries requires an analysis of police and hospitalisation data, as well as their extrapolation and verification. Quality checks are still ongoing, so country-specific breakdowns are not yet available for all of the EU. However, data indicate that an estimated 135.000 people were seriously injured on Europe's roads in one year.

What are we doing to reduce the number of fatalities? I want Member States to show stronger political commitment to push for change. We need better enforcement, better education and better speed management. We also need safer roads and safer vehicles. Of course, these measures might be costly and seem demanding. However - can we put a price tag on people's lives? The cost of such measures is nothing compared to the € 100 billion annual social costs associated with road fatalities and serious injuries.

I am determined to improve safety on the European roads. This week I wrote a letter to all Ministers reiterating these messages. I will also seek to address road safety in the Transport Council. If we want change, we must put this issue on the political agenda. From the Commission's side, we will do our part and deliver on the key on-going initiatives.

We must also recognise good practices of those who are working relentlessly to improve the safety on our roads. For that reason I will, for the first time, hand out the 'Jacques Barrot Road Safety Award' in order to give credit to the people that are trying to make a difference.

Now is the time for action. We must make road safety everyone’s priority and involve national and local authorities, European institutions, road safety professionals, civil society as well as community at large. This issue cannot be tackled with regulations alone - we need broad involvement of all stakeholders, and I believe we have the necessary will and power to improve the safety on our roads. Not because we would like to boost numbers and percentages, but because we are talking about the lives of our family members, friends, and neighbours.

There is much work still to be done, but I am convinced that working together, we can continue to drive down the numbers of people being killed and seriously injured on Europe's roads.

Varnost v cestnem prometu: čas za odločno ukrepanje

Na žalost nas dogodki, kot so nedavni teroristični napadi v Bruslju in prometna nesreča avtobusa v Španiji spomnijo, kako krhko je v resnici človeško življenje. Kako se lahko v trenutku konča, brez opozorila. Naj bom jasna: varnost v prometu ni stvar številk in odstotkov. Za vsako številko se skriva zgodba. Zgodba o ljudeh, njihovih družinskih članih, prijateljih in sosedih.

V zadnjih desetletjih je EU naredila velik napredek na področju varnosti v prometu. Med leti 2001 in 2010 smo število smrtnih žrtev na cestah zmanjšali za 43%. Ta številka se je od leta 2010 še dodatno zmanjšala za 17%. Brez dvoma so to dosežki, na katere moramo biti ponosni. Danes so evropske ceste najvarnejše na svetu.

Toda kljub preteklim uspehom pri zmanjševanju števila smrtnih žrtev na cestah, je trenutna stagnacija zaskrbljujoča. Od leta 2013 nam števila žrtev v prometu ni uspelo zmanjšati. Še slabše - okvirni izračuni kažejo, da je lani na cestah umrlo celo več ljudi kot leta 2014. V 2015 je tako na cestah življenje izgubilo 26000 ljudi, kar je 70 ljudi na dan! Takšne številke so nedopustne - vsaka smrt ali resna poškodba je preveč.

Ne samo, da ljudje v nesrečah umirajo, veliko več je takih, ki utrpijo resne poškodbe. Letos smo na ravni EU prvič zbrali podatke o hudih poškodbah, ki jih ljudje utrpijo kot posledico prometnih nesreč. To zahteva analizo podatkov policije in bolnišnic ter njihovo primerjavo in preverjanje. Postopek preverjanja podatkov sicer še poteka, tako da številke glede na posamične države članice še niso na voljo. A vendar prvi podatki kažejo, da je bilo v prejšnjem letu na evropskih cestah huje poškodovanih 135000 ljudi.

Kaj počnemo za zmanjšanje števila takšnih nesreč? Države članice pozivam, naj okrepijo prizadevanja glede izvrševanja cestnoprometnih predpisov ter kampanj in izobraževanja. Prav tako potrebujemo boljše ceste in varnejše avtomobile. Vse to morda stane, vendar - ali res lahko človeškemu življenju postavimo ceno? Stroški stroški takšnih ukrepov so v primerjavi s 100 milijardami evrov družbenih stroškov smrtnih žrtev in poškodb v prometnih nesrečah zanemarljivi.

Odločena sem, da izboljšam varnost na evropskih cestah. Zato sem ta teden pisala vsem pristojnim ministrom in poudarila, kako pomembno je ukrepati na tem področju. Prav tako se bom potrudila, da o varnosti na cestah spregovorimo v Svetu za promet. Če želimo spremembe, je treba varnost na cestah uvrstiti tudi na politični dnevni red. V Komisiji bomo storili vse, kar je v naši moči, da na tem področju ustrezno ukrepamo.

Prav tako moramo prepoznati primere dobre prakse in izpostaviti tiste, ki iz dneva v dan požrtvovalno delajo za izboljšanje varnosti na naših cestah. Zato bom letos prvič podelila Barrotovo nagrado za cestno varnost, namenjeno prepoznavanju dobrih praks na tem področju.

Če Evropa želi doseči cilj prepolovitve števila smrtnih žrtev v cestnem prometu do leta 2020, je treba storiti veliko več. V to moramo vključiti vse deležnike - državne in lokalne oblasti, organe, profesionalne delavce, zainteresirane javnosti in širšo skupnost. Tega problema ne moremo rešiti samo s predpisi, pač pa potrebujemo sodelovanje vseh udeležencev v prometu. Verjamem, da imamo potrebno voljo in moč, da izboljšamo varnost na naših cestah. Ne zato, da bi izboljšali statistiko in številke, ampak zato, ker gre za življenja naših družinskih članov, prijateljev in sosedov.

Veliko dela je treba še narediti, vendar sem prepričana da bomo skupaj še naprej zniževali število ubitih in hudo ranjenih ljudi na evropskih cestah .