Issue No. 1, 2006
Road SafetyThe Need for an Integrated Approach
The European Commission published its mid-term review of the European Road Safety Action Programme in early February. The mid-term review contains figures that reflect the efforts made on road safety in the EU since 2001. They indicate that considerable progress has been made, especially in some Member States. In 2005, for example, there were 8,000 fewer road deaths than in 2001. However, according to the Commission, “not enough progress has been made and more effort will be needed, at the national and European level, to achieve the objective of halving the number of road deaths by 2010.”
The programme that was initiated in 2001 by the EU has so far helped to put road safety at the top of the agenda for Member States, many of which have now adopted national road safety plans that often take over the common target of halving the number of road accident victimsan objective that is fully supported by JAMA and its members. However, as stated in the mid-term review, more efforts are needed and road safety will remain a road transport policy priority in the EU for the foreseeable future.
But what are the next steps? The mid-term assessment is part of the overall mid-term review of the White Paper on Transport which is expected to be adopted at the end of April 2006, and which will serve as the Commission’s input at the Informal Transport Council in
JAMA subscribes to the view that an integrated approach involving vehicle technology, infrastructure and road users is needed to effectively address current road safety issues and achieve the targets established by the European Commission. Indeed, while industry plays a critical role, other aspects also need to be addressed. These include driver behaviour and infrastructure, involving a wide range of stakeholders besides the automotive sector (including public authorities and all road users) and encompassing a number of processes such as vehicle type approval, infrastructure projects, law enforcement and R&D.
This integrated approach is reflected in the European Commission’s CARS 21 final report and is very much supported by JAMA. The CARS 21 High Level Group universally agreed that that ‘only by working within an integrated, holistic framework, can the full potential of each individual element be realized and arising synergies exploited.’ The group also agreed that the following vehicle technologies should be included in the road safety roadmap:
- Electronic stability control
- Seatbelt reminder
- Break-assist system
- Rearview vision and conspicuity for heavy-duty vehicles
- Isofix child seat
While JAMA is supportive of the group’s recommendations, it believes that international harmonization of technical standards must be taken into account:
As opposed to launching a EU-specific research programme (and eventually legislative initiatives), JAMA is of the view that all work in this area should be carried out within the international framework already in existence. For instance, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has already commenced deliberations on electronic stability control (ESC), daytime running lights (DRL) and seatbelt reminders (SBR). JAMA strongly favours conducting such holistic deliberations at the UNECE level.
JAMA fully supports the basic policy of an integrated approach towards road safety and looks forward to working with the European Commission and other stakeholders in this critical area.