How can we halve road deaths in Europe by 2020?

Quick and easy techniques to cut deaths and serious injuries on Europe’s roads are being discussed by some of the continent’s leading road safety experts this week in Ljubljana, Slovenia from 22-24 June.

Around 100 policy makers, road infrastructure engineers, safety charities, universities and representatives of automobile clubs are attending Towards Zero – how to make safer roads and road users safer’. The event is jointly hosted by EuroRAP – the European-wide road safety association measuring the safety of infrastructure Europe wide   – in partnership with DRC, the Transportation Research Association of Slovenia.

The highlight of the conference is the attendance of EU Transport Commissioner, Violeta Bulc. Commissioner Bulc will participate in round table discussions focusing on identifying practical actions to cut deaths and serious trauma on the road quickly. The EU has backed a new global Sustainable Development Goal to halve road deaths and injuries by 2020 from its levels at the end of the last decade which cannot be achieved by ‘business as usual’.

Affordable ways to save lives

Throughout the conference, road safety experts are sharing the latest evidence on actions that can bring quick wins.  The majority of road deaths are concentrated on busy high, risk roads.  Recent research reveals that half of the major roads in Eastern Europe may be achieving just a 1- or 2-star infrastructure safety rating.  Drink driving, speeding and poor rates of seat belt wearing persist.  Meanwhile, the best performing countries in Western Europe are working towards a zero death rate on their major roads within a generation.

The conference is considering particularly how Europe’s important highways can be developed at affordable cost into 3-star or better roads by focusing maintenance and other spending more effectively using best international practice.  Slovenia is one of the higher performing countries in Eastern Europe working to catch up with Europe’s top performers delegates.  Slovenian delegates will share their practical experiences in improving safety on the country’s roads.

Carnage cannot continue

EuroRAP’s Chairman, John Dawson, said: ‘In 2014, more than 25,000 people were killed on Europe’s roads and a quarter of a million suffered serious trauma. The majority of these crashes are concentrated on busy, high risk roads.

‘The international community has resolved that carnage on this scale cannot continue and quick action is needed.  I am delighted Commissioner Bulc has said safety is her top priority and is dedicating quality time to work with international experts to look at the quick wins available to develop safer roads and safer drivers.’

Zvonimir Britovšek, Director-General of DRC, said: ‘It is a great privilege to host this joint event. We hope that the delegates will find it inspirational as we look at the international evidence about what works from driver safety campaigns to traffic calming.’