Safer Roads Fund is needed to tackle Europe’s high risk roads says John Dawson

Safer Road Investment Plans should be implemented across Europe to reduce deaths and serious injuries, EuroRAP’s founding Chairman, John Dawson, told a meeting of European Transport Ministers in Malta.

Ministerial delegations from 35 countries met in the Maltese capital, Valletta, under the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.  The get-together was attended by the EU Transport Commissioner, Violeta Bulc, and the 28 EU member states were augmented by Norway and western Balkan countries.

With traffic casualties rising in a number of countries across Europe, discussions focused on how to get back on track for halving road deaths and serious injuries by 2020.  The Ministerial ‘Valletta Declaration on Road Safety’, issued at the close of the meeting, pledged all participating countries to work collaboratively towards improving road users’ safety through a range of policies including safer road infrastructure.

Before the meeting, road safety stakeholders met to generate recommendations to Ministers across a spectrum of actions.  John Dawson provided a briefing on infrastructure to the EU+ Council of Ministers and made three key recommendations:

  • A safer roads fund should be established which is dedicated to targeting high risk roads
  • The Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) system of roads should be given a measurable safety goal to achieve
  • Large scale safety projects should be supported

Supporting the Maltese President, John explained ‘Safety is not just about protecting life, there is a huge economic benefit from reducing today’s unacceptable levels of death and serious trauma.’

Safer Roads Funds provide the ability to target investment at the 10% of Europe’s roads that carry 50% of road deaths, he said.  More and more countries are beginning to target larger investments in infrastructure safety through Safer Road Investment Plans. The recent UK government decision to direct €200m into a Safer Roads Fund earmarked solely to tackle England’s 50 highest risk main roads was the type of innovation needed.

The ‘Valetta Declaration on Road Safety’ will now be considered by Violeta Bulc and the Commission. It is expected practical new proposals for action will be brought forward later this year.