In a resolution passed on Tuesday 27 September, MEPs propose over one hundred measures to improve road safety in the European Union. Their key aim is to better protect vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists, children and the elderly).
Replying to the Commission's 2010 communication "Towards a European road safety area: policy orientations on road safety 2011-2020" (16951/10), MEPs call on the Commission to draw up a 4th road safety action plan.
The resolution sets out recommendations on infrastructure, road signs, driver training, checks and vehicle equipment. It also calls for the rapid introduction of "intelligent" electronic safety equipment.
30 km/h speed limit in residential areas
Parliament strongly recommends a 30 km/h (19 mph) speed limit in residential areas and on all single-lane roads without cycle tracks.
Training for young people
MEPs also say children should be taught road safety at the youngest possible age, and that accompanied driving should be permitted from the age of 17, to enable young people to learn more gradually.
MEPs call for eye tests for drivers every 10 years, and every 5 years for those over 65. They call on Member States to establish an obligatory medical check for drivers at a certain age.
The blood alcohol limit for professional drivers and beginners (first two years) should be zero, proposes Parliament, which recommends installing alco-locks on commercial passenger and goods transport vehicles as a rehabilitation measure for drivers with more than one drink-driving conviction.
Equipment and technical inspections
MEPs wish technical inspections and safety-related electronic systems to be harmonised to the highest standards, and call for rules on the use of winter tyres to be harmonised throughout the EU, taking account of weather conditions in each Member State.
High-visibility reflective vests should be carried in vehicles for all occupants, say MEPs. Cyclists, too, should be encouraged to wear helmets and reflective vests after nightfall, they add.
Eliminate motorbike traps
Simple roadside rails should be replaced as soon as possible by double safety barriers to protect motorcyclists throughout the EU, say MEPs.
Penalty point systems in all EU countries
MEPs encourage Member States to introduce penalty point systems for the most dangerous offences, as the most efficient supplement to financial fines.
Ban radar warning devices
Parliament calls for an EU-wide ban on the manufacture, import and distribution of systems that warn drivers of traffic checks (e.g. radar warning and laser jamming devices, or navigation systems that automatically signal traffic checks).
Monitor motorcycle speed
MEPs call for the introduction of monitoring equipment by means of which speeding offences by motorcyclists can be systematically detected and punished.
Ban driving under the influence of medicines
Substances or medicines that affect the ability to drive should be systematically identified, and driving whilst taking them should eventually be prohibited, say MEPs.
35,000 Europeans lose their lives in road accidents each year.
1.5 million people are seriously injured.
At equal distances, a motorcyclist is 18 times likelier to be killed in a road accident than a motorist, 7 times likelier than a cyclist, and 9 times likelier than a pedestrian.
55 % of road accident deaths happen on country roads, 36% on urban ones and 6% on motorways.
60 % of fatal occupational accidents are road accidents, (including travel to and from work)
The social cost of road accidents in the EU is estimated at €130 billion a year.
Source : European Commission (2009)