REPORT on European road safety 2011-2020

8.7.2011 - (2010/2235(INI))

Committee on Transport and Tourism
Rapporteur: Dieter-Lebrecht Koch

Procedure : 2010/2235(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  


on European road safety 2011-2020


The European Parliament,

–    having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘A sustainable future for transport: Towards an integrated, technology-led and user friendly system’ (COM(2009)0279),

–    having regard to the Commission White Paper entitled, ‘Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource‑efficient transport system’ (COM(2011)0144),

–    having regard to the Commission Communication entitled ‘Towards a European road safety area: policy orientations on road safety 2011-2020’ (COM(2010)0389),

–    having regard to the Council Conclusions of 2 and 3 December 2010 on the Commission Communication entitled ‘Towards a European road safety area: policy orientations on road safety 2011-2020’ (16951/10),

–    having regard to the Commission study[1] assessing the Third European Road Safety Action Programme,

–   having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions entitled ‘Policy orientations on road safety 2011-2020’ (CdR 296/2010),

–   having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee entitled ‘Towards a European road safety area’ (CESE 539/2011),

–    having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 64/255 of 10 May 2010 on improving global road safety,

–    having regard to its resolution of 29 September 2005 on the European Road Safety Action Programme: halving the number of road accident victims in the European Union by 2010: a shared responsibility[2],

    having regard to its resolution of 27 April 2006 on road safety: bringing eCall to citizens[3],

–    having regard to its resolution of 18 January 2007 on the Third European Road Safety Action Programme – mid-term review[4],

–    having regard to its resolution of 23 April 2009 on the Intelligent Transport Systems Action Plan[5],

–    having regard to its resolution of 23 April 2009 on an action plan on urban mobility[6],

–    having regard to its resolution of 18 May 2010 on penalties for serious infringements against the social rules in road transport[7],

–    having regard to its resolution of 6 July 2010 on a sustainable future for transport[8],

–   having regard to Rule 48 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A7-0264/2011),

A.  whereas in 2009 more than 35 000 people were killed and more than 1 500 000 injured in road accidents in the European Union,

B.  whereas statistically for every fatal accident there are a further four accidents that lead to permanent disabilities, 10 that cause serious injuries and 40 that cause slight injuries,

C.  whereas the social cost of road accidents is estimated at EUR 130 billion per year,

D.  whereas the target set in the Third Action Programme of halving the number of road deaths in the EU by the end of 2010 was not achieved, although the number has been substantially reduced,

E.   whereas social acceptance of road accidents is still relatively high in the EU, and whereas the number of people killed each year is equivalent to the toll which would result from 250 crashes involving medium-sized airliners,

F.  whereas on the one hand increasingly serious efforts need to be made to reduce the number of road accident victims further, and on the other hand care must be taken to ensure that indifference does not set in as the total falls,

G.  whereas road safety is the responsibility of society as a whole,

H. whereas only 27.5 % of the measures outlined in the Third Action Programme have been fully implemented, and whereas significantly more ambitious targets and measures are therefore needed to improve road safety than have been proposed by the Commission up to now,

I.   whereas the legislative framework for regulations and directives based on scientific data has not yet been fully utilised, and whereas implemented European law can help save lives,

J.   whereas many legislative measures to improve road safety, such as Directive 2008/96/EC on road infrastructure safety management, have already been adopted and will come into force over the next few years,

K.  whereas the Commission failed to submit a proposal for a new action programme before the Third Road Safety Action Programme expired,

L.   whereas the likelihood of being killed in a road accident is nine times higher per kilometre travelled for pedestrians, seven times higher for cyclists and 18 times higher for motorcyclists than for people travelling by car,

M.  whereas some 55 % of fatal accidents occur on rural roads, 36 % in urban areas and 6 % on motorways,

N.  whereas if commuter travel to and from work is included, 60 % of fatal occupational accidents are road accidents,

O.  whereas the number of road deaths has fallen constantly but the number of fatal accidents involving motorcyclists is stagnating and in many places rising,

P.   whereas travel by public transport is many times safer than travel by private vehicle,

R.  whereas lorry blind spots represent a lethal hazard for cyclists and pedestrians,

S.   whereas the European Union is facing a process of demographic change, so that due account must be taken of the mobility needs of elderly people in particular,

T.   whereas new technological developments, for example the introduction of hybrid vehicles and electric propulsion systems, are creating new challenges for the rescue services,

U.  whereas the implementation of European, national, regional and local measures must be closely coordinated,

V.  whereas the Road Infrastructure Safety Directive 2008/96/EC requires the implementation of road safety audits and safety inspections as part of regular road maintenance; and whereas this directive only applies to Trans-European Network (TEN‑T) road infrastructure, leaving many national and local roads unregulated,

W. whereas regular inspections of all European roads by competent entities are an essential element in the prevention of possible dangers for road users,

X.  whereas the data available concerning the causes of accidents and injuries is crucial to improving road safety, as demonstrated by, inter alia. the VERONICA projects,


1.   Welcomes the Commission communication under consideration here, but calls on the Commission, by the end of 2011, to develop its proposals into a fully fledged action programme incorporating a detailed set of measures with clear timetables for their implementation, monitoring instruments, so that the effectiveness of the measures can be regularly checked, and provision for a mid-term review;

2.  Endorses the Commission’s view that if road safety is to be improved, a coherent, holistic and integrated approach is required, and calls for road safety issues to be addressed in all relevant policy areas, such as education, health, environmental and social policy and police and judicial cooperation;

3.  Calls on the Commission to improve the framework conditions for safer and more environmentally benign transport, such as walking, cycling, bus or rail, so as to encourage their use.

4.   Proposes, as a matter of priority, that an EU Road Safety Coordinator should be appointed, as part of the European Commission, by 2014, who should:

· promote – as a recognised personality in the field of road transport safety – current, and initiate innovative new, road safety projects with his experience, expertise and skills

· coordinate road safety measures within the Commission and between the Member States

· facilitate at a high political level the preparation, implementation and enforcement of effective and coherent road safety policies in line with the EU objectives

· oversee particular projects such as the harmonisation of indicators, data and, as far as possible, national road safety plans

· promote the exchange of best practice and the implementation of road safety provisions in cooperation with all stakeholders, Member States and their regional and local authorities

· liaise between the relevant political and academic levels in order to allow scope for a multidisciplinary approach;

5.  Calls on the Commission to set up a cooperation forum where prosecutors, law enforcement authorities, victims’ associations and road safety monitoring centres can exchange information on best practices and cooperate more closely on improving implementation of road safety legislation, at both national and transnational levels;

6.   Emphasises that particular attention must be paid to the proper implementation and more effective enforcement of existing laws and measures; points out, at the same time, that the scope for legislative measures at EU level has not yet been exhausted;

7.  Regrets that the EU budget for road safety measures has been cut significantly in recent years and calls on the Commission to reverse this trend;

8.  Wholeheartedly endorses the objective of halving by 2020 the total number of road deaths in the EU by comparison with 2010, and calls for further clear and measurable targets to be set for the same period, in particular

· a 60 % reduction in the number of children under the age of 14 killed in road accidents,

· a 50 % reduction in the number of pedestrians and cyclists killed in road collisions, and

· a 40 % reduction in the number of people suffering critical injuries, on the basis of a uniform EU definition to be developed quickly;

Ethical aspects

9.   Emphasises that every EU citizen not only has a right to individual road use and safe road transport, but above all also has a duty to contribute to road safety by means of his or her own behaviour; considers that the public authorities and the EU have a moral and political obligation to adopt measures and actions to tackle this social problem;

10. Reiterates its view that a complementary, long-term strategy is needed which goes beyond the period covered by the communication under consideration here and has the objective of preventing all road deaths (‘Vision Zero’); being aware that this is not feasible without the extensive use of technology in road vehicles and the development of proper networks for ITS, calls on the Commission to develop the central features of such a strategy and to present them within the next three years;

11. Maintains that respect for life and the human person should find expression in a shared cultural and ethical process whereby the road would be deliberately construed as a human community;

12. Calls on the Commission and Member States officially to recognise the third Sunday in November as the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, as the United Nations and World Health Organisation have already done, in order to raise public awareness of this issue;

Proven practices and their implementation in national plans

13. Calls on the Commission to do more to encourage exchanges of knowledge and proven practices among the Member States so that more of them can be incorporated into national, regional, and local road safety plans, thus enabling activities to be established on as solid a methodological footing as possible, thereby contributing to the creation of a European road safety area;

14. Calls on the Commission to review the European Road Safety Charter and to encourage the introduction of similar charters at regional and local level;

15. Emphasises that clear, quantifiable objectives act as fresh incentives to improve road safety and are essential if comparisons of the progress made by individual Member States are to be drawn up and the implementation of road safety measures is to be monitored and assessed; takes the view that an attempt should be made to quantify the contribution made by individual Member States to reaching the target in 2020; considers that this contribution should be used as a guide when setting the priorities for national road safety policies;

16. Supports the Commission in its efforts to persuade the Member States to draw up national road safety plans; calls for the drafting and publication of such plans on the basis of harmonised joint guidelines to be made compulsory; emphasises, however, that the Member States should be given considerable leeway to tailor their respective measures, programmes and objectives to national circumstances;

17. Calls on the Commission to designate a special year for safe commercial road transport without delay;

18. Calls on the Commission to draw up a best practice manual on medical care of the injured at the scene of traffic accidents to ensure they receive faster and more effective medical treatment, which is a key factor in the survival of the most seriously injured;

19. Calls on the Commission to draw up, in conjunction with the social partners, a strategy to cut the number of accidents suffered by workers on the way to and from work; calls on the Member States and the Commission to encourage businesses to draw up road safety plans; calls on the Commission to do its utmost to ensure that certificates can be issued under the European Road Safety Charter to businesses that introduce road safety plans for their workers;

Improving indicators and data

20. Regards high-quality, comparable data covering all road users including cyclists and pedestrians as a prerequisite for a successful road safety policy;

21. Calls on the Commission to have a study drawn up on the economic and social impact of road deaths and injuries on society in the EU Member States;

22. Calls on the Commission, by the end of 2013, to apply as part of the SafetyNet project a set of additional, harmonised indicators on the basis of which monitoring can be improved and meaningful comparisons of the progress made by individual Member States drawn up;

23. Calls on the Commission to draw up by 2012 a proposal to improve the data available concerning the causes of accidents and injuries, as well as anonymised data on the extent of injuries and their subsequent development; calls further for detailed multi-disciplinary accident research to be carried out in representative traffic areas in all the Member States, with European Union support;

24. Calls on the Commission to draw up within two years definitions of the terms ‘critically injured’, ‘seriously injured’ and ‘slightly injured’ with a view to making comparisons of measures and their impact in the Member States possible;

25. Calls for the development of a genuine EU road safety monitoring centre whose task it would be to prepare a summary of existing initiatives on data collection, to make a proposal aimed at improving exchanges of data, as well as to collate data from existing databases and the knowledge gained through the implementation of EU projects such as SafetyNet, VERONICA or DaCoTa and to make it available to everyone in a readily comprehensible, annually updated form;

26. Calls on the Member States to honour existing commitments to transfer data and to make concrete progress towards the exchange of data in the case of cross-border traffic offences; calls on the Member States to harmonise data collection systems using real-time transmission software for sensitive data, to be phased in by 2014;

Areas for action

Improving road users training and behaviour

27. Emphasises that care, consideration for others and mutual respect and observance of rules, which is directly related to the need for systematic improvement in the quality of training by driving schools and the quality of the procedure for issuing driving licences, are fundamental to road safety;

28. Takes the view that greater importance should be attached to the concept of lifelong learning in the area of road transport, and therefore supports the activity of safe driving centres as an effective form of systemic training of drivers in all occupational and leisure-time contexts; takes the view that traffic education and road user training programmes should already start from an early age in the family and at school and should include cycling, walking and using public transport;

29. Calls for measures to improve the training of new drivers, such as accompanied driving from the age of 17, or the introduction of a Graduated Driver Licensing system for driver training which involves practical instruction even after a driver has passed his or her test; calls, further, for the introduction of compulsory safety training for young and new road users so that they can gain practical experience in coping with a variety of dangerous situations;

30. Calls, in the context of driver training, as one of the main elements in the education of novice drivers that will achieve and improve road safety, for urgent attention to be paid to the main causes of road deaths and serious injuries, such as speeding, driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs or certain medications that affect driving ability, failure to wear a seat belt or other protective equipment such as helmets for users of two-wheel vehicles, the use of mobile communications devices while driving, and tiredness;

31. Is convinced of the need for a better education of novice drivers regarding the role of tyres in road safety and the need for observing basic rules for proper tyre maintenance and tyre use; calls on the Member States, therefore, to implement in a proper and timely manner the Driving Licence Directive and the provisions therein covering mandatory inclusion of a section on tyre knowledge, as well as one on basic car maintenance in general, in the driving test exams;

32. Considers that, in car driving lessons, greater attention should be devoted to the phenomenon of motorised two-wheeled vehicles and their visibility;

33. Calls for driving instruction and driving tests to give more priority to the securing of loads in private transport;

34. Calls for a obligatory refresher courses on first aid every 10 years for all driving licence holders;

35. Encourages the Member States to introduce special penalty points systems for the most dangerous offences, as the most efficient supplement to financial fines;

36. Recommends, as a reintegration measure, the fitting of alcolocks to the vehicles of road users who already have more than one drink-driving conviction;

37. Calls for an eye test for all drivers in categories A and B every 10 years and for drivers older then 65 years every 5 years; calls on the Member States to establish an obligatory medical check for drivers at a certain age, to identify the physical, mental and psychological ability required to continue driving on the basis of their statistical accident data for the respective age groups;

38. Calls on the Commission to draw up, every three years, EU road safety campaigns on a specific topic and to systematically use the communication channels which have grown up as a result of the implementation of the Road Safety Charter for these campaigns;

39. Calls on the Commission to tackle as part of road safety the number of road deaths at level crossings, where accidents are often caused by inappropriate behaviour on the part of road users, including excessive risk taking, lack of attention and failure to understand road signs;

Harmonising and enforcing road traffic rules

40. Calls for determined efforts to harmonise road signs and road traffic rules by 2013; points out that signs should be maintained in good condition so as to ensure that they are clearly visible and are replaced in good time, where this is necessary owing to changes in conditions;

41. Calls on the Commission to adopt as swiftly as possible the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) specifications for priority actions relating to road safety and security set out in Article 3, letters (b) to (f), of Directive 2010/40/EU on Intelligent Transport Systems;

42. Regards the enforcement of existing rules as a central pillar of the EU’s road safety policy; calls for an improved exchange among the Member States in connection with offences against traffic regulations in the individual Member States and for such offenders to be prosecuted in accordance with the national law in force, and calls on the Member States in that connection to set annual national targets for checks on speeding, drink-driving or driving whilst under the influence of drugs and the wearing of seat belts and helmets, and to take determined action to ensure that such checks are carried out;

43. Points to the important role played by the TISPOL organisation in exchanging proven practices for the enforcement of traffic regulations;

44. Emphasises that a harmonised and effective approach to checks is essential for the transposition of the social rules in road transport (Regulation No 561/2006 and Regulation 3821/85/EC), which are enormously important for road safety; calls once again on the Commission, therefore, to act on the demands made by Parliament in its resolution of 18 May 2010 on penalties for serious infringements against the social rules in road transport;

45. Calls on the Commission to review legislation on driving and rest times in order to allow long-distance lorry drivers to spend their weekly rest periods at home, always providing that this can be achieved without compromising the European Union’s road safety objectives; believes that restrictions on the movement of freight transport need to be harmonised across the European Union;

46. Welcomes the adoption of the Council’s Position on the Cross-border Enforcement of Traffic Penalties Directive, which represents a further step to improving road safety with a clear EU added value; takes note of the written declarations of the Commission and several Member States at the December Council meeting; regrets, however, that, as a result of the change of legal base, it will not apply to all Member States and EU citizens; expresses concern that the Council’s Position reduces significantly the scope of the Directive, and urges Council to reach a satisfactory agreement at second reading, including provisions facilitating the cross-border enforcement of traffic law, EU-wide road safety guidelines and the required information for drivers;

47. Calls on the Commission to support, as a first step, the development of techniques for apprehending drivers under the influence of drugs and medicines which influence their fitness to drive and to propose as a second step EU legislation to prohibit driving whilst under the influence of drugs or the above mentioned medicines, with effective enforcement;

48. Calls for an EU-wide harmonised blood alcohol limit; recommends a 0 ‰, scientifically based range of tolerance for measurement for newly qualified drivers in the first 2 years and for professional drivers at all time;

49. Calls for the introduction of monitoring equipment by means of which speeding offences by motorcyclists can be systematically detected and punished;

50. Calls for a Europe-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);

51. Calls for the introduction of an EU-wide ban on the practice of texting, emailing or web browsing while driving a motorised vehicle, which should be enforced by Member States using the best available technology;

52. Calls on the Commission to draw up, within two years, a legislative proposal for a harmonised approach on winter tyres for passenger cars, buses and lorries in EU regions, taking into account the weather conditions in each Member State;

53. Looks to the Commission, by 2015, to review the implementation of the third driving licence directive and bring it into line with changing circumstances, and calls, inter alia, for due account to be taken of the fact that the private use of M1 vehicles with a weight in excess of 3.5 tonnes – in particular mobile homes – is de facto no longer possible; calls for training in driving mobile homes with a weight only marginally in excess of the 3.5‑tonne limit to be open not only to persons with the category C licence intended for drivers of commercial vehicles, but also to persons with the category B licence intended for private road users;

54. Strongly recommends the responsible authorities to introduce speed limits of 30 km/h in residential areas and on all one-lane roads in urban areas which have no separate cycle lane, with a view to protecting vulnerable road users more effectively;

Making road transport infrastructure safer

55. Wholeheartedly supports the Commission’s proposal to make EU funding available as a matter of principle to infrastructure projects which comply with EU directives on road safety and tunnel safety, including the construction of lower-class roads; calls in this connection for efforts in border sectors to be concentrated in particular on reducing the number of highly dangerous sections, accident black spots and level crossings;

56. Reiterates that a well-preserved road infrastructure contributes to reducing fatalities and injuries of road users; calls on the Member States to preserve and develop their road infrastructure through regular maintenance and innovative methods such as intelligent road markings that display safety distances and the direction of travel, and passively safe road infrastructure; stresses that norms for signposting, in particular regarding road works, must be respected as they are crucial for a high level of road safety.

57. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to pay greater attention to road design, to support the implementation of cost-effective measures already available and to encourage research that will enable policy-makers to understand better how road infrastructure should develop in order to improve road safety and to accommodate the specific needs of an ageing population and vulnerable road users;

58. Welcomes the fact that the Commission is focusing its attention on the most vulnerable user groups (two-wheel vehicle users, pedestrians, etc.), where accident figures are still too high; calls on the Member States, the Commission and the industry to bear these kinds of users in mind when designing road infrastructure and equipment, so that roads built are safe for all users; calls, in the context of road planning and maintenance, for greater consideration to be given to infrastructure measures to protect cyclists and pedestrians, e.g. traffic separation measures, the expansion of cycle path networks and barrier-free access arrangements and crossings for pedestrians;

59. Calls on the Commission to ensure that roadwork sites are made safer through guidelines for designing and equipping sites, which should be standardised, as far as possible, at the European level, so that motorists are not faced with new, unfamiliar circumstances in each country; calls for guidelines, which should include proper signing, removal of original road markings, use of protective fencing and barriers, marking lane routing with warning beacons or bend signs and markings, avoiding very narrow bends and ensuring safety at night;

60. Emphasises the need for adequate road surfaces which enhance skid resistance, climatic and meteorological performance, and visibility and which require low maintenance, thereby increasing infrastructure user safety;

61. Calls for widespread use of signs showing vehicles’ speed at a given moment, and for efforts to make signs more visible and comprehensible by avoiding combinations of signs which are difficult to understand;

62. Emphasises the importance of ensuring that national road infrastructure not included in the TEN-T network is improved from the point of view of road safety, in particular in the EU regions with low-quality infrastructure and poor traffic safety levels;

63. Calls on the Commission to identify, and on the Member States to implement, suitable measures to prevent accidents on rural roads, in rural areas and in tunnels, and to reduce the damage they cause;

64. Urges the Commission and Member States to call on their national, regional and local authorities to design their roads in such a way that they do not present any hazards to motorised two-wheeled vehicles; points out that the standard guard rails used on European roads are a death trap for motorcyclists, and calls on the Member States to take prompt action (including replacing the existing guard rails) to refit dangerous stretches of road with rails with upper and lower elements as well as with other alternative road barrier systems, in accordance with Standard EN 1317, in order to lessen the repercussions of accidents for all road users; draws attention to the danger posed to motorcyclists by tarmac patches, which offer much less grip than the normal asphalt road surfaces;

65. Calls on the Commission to encourage guidelines for promoting best practice in traffic‑calming measures, based on physical and optical innovation, inter alia by applying EU co-financed research and development projects to traffic calming with a view to reducing accidents, noise pollution and air pollution;

66. Calls on the Member States to draw up, and regularly update, a map of the most dangerous ‘black spots’ in their road networks, which should be made available to the public and be accessible via car navigation systems;

67. Takes the view that the concepts of the ‘self-explaining road’ and the ‘forgiving roadside’ are integral to road safety policy and should therefore be promoted by means of EU funding and ongoing exchanges of best practice;

68. Calls on the Member States to make the addition of a rumble strip an integral part of road-building and repair work;

69. Draws attention to the particular dangers posed by level crossings, and calls on the Member States, when building or rebuilding such crossings, to incorporate a level change or, on minor roads, to install full-width barriers;

70. Points to Directive 2008/96/EC on Road Safety Infrastructure Management with reference to the need for a sufficient number of safe parking areas next to motorways; emphasises the importance of observing driving and rest periods, and of the introduction of a harmonised sanction regime, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to make both a sufficient number of parking areas (quantity criterion) and of secure safe parking areas which meet minimum social standards and are provided with maintenance and assistance services (quality criteria) available to professional HGV drivers; calls for such parking areas to be provided for when road infrastructure is at the planning stage, or to be upgraded, and for the building costs to be considered eligible for co-financing under Community programmes (for example the TEN-T programme);

71. Calls for a ban on overtaking by lorries on dangerous sections of motorways;

72. Calls on Members States and road operators to provide appropriately designed facilities to improve safety which are all well equipped with road signs and well lit, and thus more user-friendly, especially for motorcyclists and cyclists;

Putting safer vehicles on the road

73. Recommends that fitting of alcolocks – with a small, scientifically-based range of tolerance for measurement – to all new types of commercial passenger and goods transport vehicles be made compulsory; calls on the Commission to prepare by 2013 a proposal for a Directive for the fitting of alcolocks, including the relevant specifications for its technical implementation;

74. Calls on the Commission to continue to focus on improving the passive safety of vehicles, for example through state-of-the-art crash management systems, in particular to improve compatibility between large and small cars and between heavy goods vehicles and cars or light-duty vehicles; calls for continued emphasis to be placed on reducing the seriousness of collisions with vulnerable road users; calls on the Commission to propose a revision of the EU legislation on front-underrun protective devices in such a way as to define the optimum energy absorption capacity and height of the underrun protective devices needed to provide effective protection for car drivers in the event of a collision;

75. Calls on the Commission to present within two years a report on the issue of the extent to which improved passenger protection through the use of strengthened A, B and C pillars in vehicles compromises the driver’s all-round vision and whether this has an impact on the safety of vulnerable road users;

76. Calls on the Commission to present within two years a report on the safety aspects of electromobility, including ‘e-bikes’ and ‘pedelecs’;

77. Calls on the Commission to submit by 2013 a proposal designed to ensure that every new vehicle is fitted as standard equipment with an improved seat-belt reminder system for the front and rear seats which gives both auditory and visual warnings;

78. Calls on the Commission to assess the usefulness of installing warning systems against fatigue and to make them compulsory if appropriate;

79. Calls on automobile manufacturers, when developing electric cars and other new propulsion systems, to pay particular attention to protecting both vehicle occupants and first-aid workers and members of the rescue services effectively against new sources of danger they may face in the event of an accident;

80. Calls on the Member States to monitor imported motor vehicle, motorcycle and bicycle accessories, components and spare parts effectively and substantively in order to ensure that they are suitable and meet stringent European consumer protection standards;

81. Calls on the Commission to consider in detail the possible link between improved vehicle safety technology and reduced driver risk awareness and to submit a report on this matter to Parliament within two years;

82. Calls on the Commission to establish a single European area for regular technical inspections of all motorised road vehicles and their safety-related electronic systems; expects the most stringent, uniform standards to form the basis for such inspections; expects independent inspection bodies certified on the basis of a harmonised standard to be responsible for carrying out inspections and issuing roadworthiness certificates; expects the mutual recognition of such roadworthiness certificates to be guaranteed;

83. Calls on the Commission to lay down within two years common standards for technical checks to be performed on vehicles which have been involved in serious accidents;

84. Calls on the Commission to promote higher vehicle safety standards, such as in car vehicle technology, as a means of preventing collisions; emphasises the important role played by intelligent traffic systems (ITSs) in reducing the number of road accident deaths, reiterates the ecological potential of smart cars and smart roads, as well as R&D pilot projects for V2V and V2R devices; and calls on both the Commission and the Member States to focus on the use of ITSs, not only on roads which form part of the TEN;

85. Calls on the Commission to lay down common standards for vehicle tyres, in particular for tread depth of tyres and tyre pressure, and to introduce corresponding checks; supports the inclusion of tyre checks in the regular roadworthiness tests performed on vehicles; supports more effective enforcement of tyre-related rules by means of more frequent roadside inspections; calls on the Commission to propose specifications for Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) with a view to ensuring that tyres are used properly, which will bring benefits both for road safety and the environment;

Using modern technologies for vehicles, infrastructure and the emergency services

86. Calls for details on ‘state of road’ information, information on sections of road that are extremely dangerous or unusual and of the traffic rules currently in force in individual Member States (for example concerning the speed limits regime and maximum authorised BAC level) to be made available to road users before and during journeys, for example through the use of smart traffic systems; expects that the potential of the European Satellite Navigation System Galileo will be fully exploited in this field;

87. Calls on the Commission to submit a legislative proposal, including a timetable and a detailed approval procedure, by the end of 2012 providing for the phased introduction, initially in rented vehicles and subsequently also in commercial and private vehicles, of an integrated accident recorder system with a standardised readout which records relevant data before, during and after accidents (‘Event Data Recording’); stresses, in that connection, the need to protect individuals’ personal data and to use the data recorded exclusively for accident research;

88. Calls on the Commission to draw up a proposal to fit vehicles with ‘intelligent speed assistance systems’ which incorporate a timetable, details of an approval procedure and a description of the requisite road infrastructure;

89. Calls on the Commission to support actions that stimulate customers to take up innovative vehicle-safety technologies, many of which are not yet mandatory but have demonstrable safety benefits, when they purchase vehicles; calls on insurance companies to show greater readiness to offer favourable rates to drivers whose vehicles are fitted with safety systems which have been shown to prevent accidents or reduce the damage they cause;

90. Calls on the Commission to conduct a study into new technologies which can help to improve road safety, such as innovative (e.g. adaptive) headlight systems;

91. Urges the Commission to speed up its evaluation and revision of Directive 2007/38/EC; calls for technological advancement to be taken into account by fitting all lorries with special rear-view mirrors, camera/monitor devices or other technical instruments that eliminate blind spots, so as to prevent, in particular, accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians who find themselves in the drivers blind spot;

92. Welcomes the Commission’s stated aim of paying special attention to the safety of motorcyclists;

93. Regards the phased, mandatory introduction of anti-brake-locking systems on all new motorcycles as an important measure which could substantially reduce the number of serious motorcycle accidents;

94. Calls on the Member States to take steps to ensure that the requirements imposed on commercial vehicles are stepped up in line with technical conditions, e.g. regarding tiredness- and distraction-warning devices;

95.  Recommends the fitting of air conditioning systems to all newer types of long-distance lorries and to older types on the basis of technical feasibility; takes the view that these systems should also work when the motor is at rest, in order to guarantee appropriate rest for the driver in the vehicle; calls on the European Commission to clarify the term ‘suitable sleeping facilities’ in regard to Article 8.8 of Regulation 561/2006.

96. Welcomes the Commission’s announcement that it intends to speed up the introduction of ‘eCall’, and calls on the Commission, over the next two years, to consider whether it should be extended to cover motorcycles, heavy goods vehicles and buses, with particular regard to the special needs of persons with disabilities, and, if appropriate, make corresponding proposals;

97. Calls on the Commission to draw up measures to support and protect members of the rescue services in the event of accidents, such as the possibility of identifying or retrieving on-the-spot information about the engine type of the vehicle, passive safety equipment such as airbags, or the use of specific material, as well as all other relevant technical rescue information on each car model, in order to accelerate the rescue operation;

Protecting vulnerable road users

98. Calls for greater account to be taken of the protection of vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists, pedestrians, road maintenance workers, cyclists, children, elderly people and people with disabilities as an integral aspect of road safety, for example through the use of innovative vehicle and infrastructure technologies; calls for greater attention to be paid to the needs of elderly people and people with reduced mobility as road users; calls, in that connection, on Member States to develop programmes which forestall old‑age‑related accident risks and make it easier for elderly people to remain active road users; recommends the use of road safety barriers with smooth surfaces and the introduction of special lanes for vulnerable users;

99. Invites the Commission, the Member States and local authorities to promote ‘safe routes to school’ schemes in order to increase the safety of children; indicates that, in addition to the introduction of speed limits and the establishment of a school traffic police, the suitability of vehicles used as school buses and the professional skills of drivers must also be assured;

100.    Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support cycling and walking as mode of transport in their own right and an integral part of all transport systems;

101.    Calls on the Member States:

1)  to make the carrying of warning jackets for all vehicle occupants compulsory and

2)  to encourage cyclists, especially at night outside built-up areas, to use crash helmets and wear warning jackets or comparable clothing as a means of improving their visibility;

102.    Calls on the Commission to submit a proposal laying down minimum requirements in respect of lights and reflective devices which must be met by bicycle manufacturers;

103.    Recommends that children up to the age of three travelling in vehicles should be secured in rear-facing child seats;

104.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

  • [1]  ‘The preparation of the European Road Safety Action Program 2011-2020’.
  • [2]  OJ C 227 E, 21.9.2006, p.609.
  • [3]  OJ, C 296 E, 6.12.2006, p. 268.
  • [4]  OJ C 244 E, 18.10.2007, p. 220.
  • [5]  OJ C 184 E, 8.7.2010, p. 43.
  • [6]  OJ C 184 E, 8.7.2010, p. 50.
  • [7]  Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0175.
  • [8]  Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0260.


1. Background

In recent years Europe’s roads have become substantially safer. Between 2001 and 2009 the number of road deaths in the EU fell by 36%, and the Third European Road Safety Action Programme was instrumental in bringing about that fall. Since 2001, almost 80 000 lives have been saved as a result of the progress made. Although the target of halving the annual number of road deaths has not been met, the figures are very encouraging. Above all, however, they are a call for further action. In 2009, the number of people killed on Europe’s roads was still 35 000 and the number seriously injured was 1.5 million, with many of them being left disabled. The social and economic cost of these road accidents is huge (roughly EUR 130 billion in 2009). The human loss involved, the grief experienced by the friends and families of the victims, the suffering of the injured and the dramatic changes to the lives of accident victims represent costs of a different kind.

A total of 35 000 road deaths – this is equivalent to the death toll which would result if some 250 medium-sized airliners full of passengers were to crash, an unimaginable scenario. However, society essentially accepts or refuses to acknowledge the deadly danger we face as road users. The tragedies which occur every day on Europe’s roads are largely ignored.

2. The Commission communication

Shortly before the Third Action Programme expired, the Commission submitted a communication setting out its strategic objectives for the period to 2020.

Once again, the Commission’s main target is to halve the number of road deaths in the European Union (as compared with 2010).

With a view to achieving that target, the Commission sets itself seven strategic objectives:

· improved training for road users and more stringent licensing and driver training procedures

· more effective enforcement of road traffic rules

· safer infrastructure

· improved safety measures for commercial and private vehicles

· development of intelligent vehicles

· improvements to emergency and first-aid services

· measures to protect vulnerable road users, in particular motorcyclists.

The Commission is thus seeking to establish general rules and objectives to which national or local strategies should be tailored. In accordance with the subsidiarity principle, the measures involved are to be taken at the most appropriate level, on the basis of shared responsibility.

3. Criticisms and proposals for improvement

3.1 Better coordination of the measures

In principle, your rapporteur supports the objectives and the measures sketched out by the Commission. He also endorses the Commission’s view that if road safety is to be improved a coherent, holistic and integrated approach is needed which encompasses all road users and stakeholders and seeks to develop synergies with other policy objectives. However, this, the mainstreaming of road safety issues in all relevant policy areas and the combined involvement of local, regional, national and European authorities in the preparation and implementation of the measures all call for an exceptionally high degree of coordination. If current EU structures remain unchanged, decisive action to develop this integrated strategy is unlikely. Your rapporteur is therefore proposing the creation of the office of European Road Safety Coordinator. With the support of the Commission, he or she would orchestrate the various approaches and the work of the authorities at the various levels. Above all, the coordinator could play a valuable role by liaising between the various levels.

3.2 Vision Zero

Your rapporteur wholeheartedly supports the objective of halving the number of road deaths by 2020. This means, however, that in 2020 some 15 000 people would still lose their lives in road accidents. The price EU citizens pay for their mobility would thus still be shockingly high. If even one person is killed or injured in a road accident it is one too many. Although absolute safety is an impossibility, the objective of only halving the number of road deaths – however ambitious it may be given the time frame – is ethically questionable. The Commission should therefore finally acknowledge Parliament’s call and set as the long-term aim the prevention of all road deaths (‘Vision Zero’), as a number of Member States have already done. The EU must make a start on the work of turning this vision into reality and developing a strategy which looks beyond the 10-year time frame.

3.3 More ambitious objectives and practical measures

What is more, within the time frame set by the communication under consideration here the EU needs a raft of much more specific measures if it is to achieve the ambitious target of a 50% cut in road deaths, above all because steady progress in the area of road safety will make it ever more difficult to secure further reductions in the number of deaths and accidents. Against this background, many of the measures announced by the Commission are too vague, too timid and not commensurate with the challenges facing us.

It is regrettable that the Commission failed to submit a proposal for a new action programme before the Third Road Safety Action Programme expired. Instead it presented only a strategic communication, whose impact will be much less significant. As a framework for action it is inadequate. By the end of 2011, therefore, the Commission should develop its proposals into a fully-fledged new action programme which incorporates a set of detailed measures, with clear timetables and monitoring instruments to assess the progress made, and makes provision for a mid-term review.

In addition, at EU level two further clear and measurable objectives should be set for the period to 2020:

          a 60% reduction in the number of children under the age of 14 killed in road accidents, and

          a 40% reduction in the number of people critically injured in road accidents.

In connection with the latter objective, a harmonised European definition of the term ‘critically injured’ needs to be developed. One possible criterion might be the requirement following an accident to be treated in intensive care. A firm deadline must be set for agreement on this definition.

3.4 Improved road safety indicators and data

International comparisons and assessments of the progress made or of the effectiveness of the measures taken in the area of road safety are essential.

They can only be carried out on the basis of high-quality, comparable data and indicators covering all the Member States, using appropriate assessment tools. Despite the considerable progress made, further improvements are needed. Many EU-funded research projects (e.g. SafetyNet) have already been conducted in an effort to develop improved sets of indicators. The findings of these research projects should be used, in conjunction with better and more comprehensive sets of data, to gain a better insight into the impact and effectiveness of road safety measures.

The need for comparable data is particularly great in the area of the analysis of the causes of injuries and accidents. The EU should take the initiative now and propose a system for compiling harmonised European statistics on the causes of accidents. This should include the development of harmonised accident data analysis, on the basis of a standard form, and EU funding for detailed research into accidents on representative stretches of road in all the Member States, with a view to improving our understanding of the problem. This research could draw on the experience already gained in this area in individual Member States.

In addition, the data compiled from all the Member States should be processed by a centralised body and turned into readily understandable statistics which can then be made public, subject to compliance with stringent personal data protection standards.

3.5 National and EU objectives

Clear, quantifiable objectives can also act as additional incentives to improve road safety in the Member States - above all if harmonised data makes regular comparisons of the progress made and assessments of national policies possible and if the results are made public. In that connection, the EU could make it a requirement for every Member State to draw up and publish national road safety plans based on harmonised common guidelines. In accordance with the subsidiarity principle, the form these plans take, i.e. the objectives they set and the measures they incorporate, should remain largely a matter for the Member States.

3.6 Road behaviour

EU citizens have a right to a high level of road safety. Governments must play their part, in particular in connection with the enforcement of traffic rules.

At the same time, every road user has a duty to make his or her own contribution to road safety. Everyone can do their bit. Measures to improve road behaviour are therefore particularly important.

These should include, for example, measures to improve the training of new drivers, such as accompanied driving as from the age of 17, a system which has already proved its worth in Germany, or the introduction of a multi-phase model for driver training which involves practical instruction even after a driver has passed his or her test. Greater attention should be paid to the concept of lifelong learning in the area of road transport as well. Only if road users constantly improve their skills will they be able to cope with new vehicle functions and more complex traffic situations. All road users should also be required to brush up at regular intervals the knowledge of first aid they acquired as part of their driver training.

However, there is also a need for psychological measures designed to change the behaviour of road users who consistently breach traffic rules, such as the introduction throughout Europe of a harmonised points system.

In addition the EU has a very praiseworthy Road Safety Charter which many people have already voluntarily committed themselves to observing. The communication channels which have grown up as a result of the implementation of this Charter should be developed and used more systematically in connection with EU road safety campaigns.

3.7 Specific individual measures

In addition to the repeating once again the calls consistently made by Parliament, your rapporteur is proposing a series of additional measures to improve road safety in the EU. Inter alia, they focus on:

· tyre pressures/compulsory use of winter tyres

· provision of relevant information to first-aid workers and members of the professional rescue services

· training and further training for road users

· road safety campaigns

· measures to protect vulnerable road users

· technical changes to private cars and commercial vehicles

· anti-locking systems for motorcycles

· driver fatigue alert systems

· compulsory wearing of warning jackets at night outside built-up areas

· uniform legal alcohol limits

· pedelecs


Date adopted





Result of final vote







Members present for the final vote

Georges Bach, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Antonio Cancian, Michael Cramer, Luis de Grandes Pascual, Saïd El Khadraoui, Ismail Ertug, Carlo Fidanza, Jacqueline Foster, Jim Higgins, Ville Itälä, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Georgios Koumoutsakos, Werner Kuhn, Jörg Leichtfried, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Gesine Meissner, Mike Nattrass, Hubert Pirker, David-Maria Sassoli, Vilja Savisaar-Toomast, Olga Sehnalová, Debora Serracchiani, Brian Simpson, Keith Taylor, Silvia-Adriana Ţicău, Giommaria Uggias, Thomas Ulmer, Peter van Dalen, Dominique Vlasto, Artur Zasada, Roberts Zīle

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Philip Bradbourn, Frieda Brepoels, Spyros Danellis, Tanja Fajon, Markus Ferber, Jelko Kacin, Dominique Riquet, Laurence J.A.J. Stassen