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Brussels, 29 September 2003

Road Safety: a new push through new technologies

The Commission has adopted the eSafety Communication, laying down a set of measures for supporting the industry in developing safer and more intelligent vehicles and enabling their rapid introduction into the market. The goal is halving the number of road deaths in Europe by 2010. To achieve it, the European Commission proposes the broad deployment of advanced information and communication technologies (ICT) in cars. The general framework for Community actions regarding road safety had been presented in a recently adopted Road Safety Action Programme. The adopted eSafety Communication is based on extensive consultations with industry and other players. It builds on the Action Programme by bringing forward many detailed actions to improve the use of ICT in vehicles. These measures will potentially affect all types of vehicles in the future and are important for all road users.

The Member of the Commission responsible for enterprise policy and the Information Society, Erkki Liikanen, stated: "Recently, the Commission has taken a number of initiatives in the area of road safety, including the adoption of the Road Safety Action Programme. But still the costs of accidents, injuries and fatalities caused by road transport are too high, and new measures are required. Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) that are already widely in use in vehicles are an important set of tools which allow the road safety challenge to be tackled. The public sector has to work together with the private sector both by investing in the required infrastructure and in taking measures that enable the market introduction of new solutions."

The Communication adopted by the Commission brings forward the actions the Commission intends to take in order to accelerate the development, and large-scale deployment and use of active safety systems, called Intelligent Vehicle Safety Systems. The proposed actions fall into three categories, namely (I) Promoting Intelligent Vehicle Safety Systems, (II) Adapting the Regulatory and Standardisation Provisions and (III) Removing the Societal and Business Obstacles.

More information:

Appendix 1


The Commission has recently taken a number of important actions in the area of road safety, including the adoption of the Road Safety Action Programme.

However, from society's point of view the costs of road transport are still too high: The 1,300,000 road accidents per year in Europe cause 40,000 fatalities and 1,700,000 injuries, at an estimated cost of 160 Billion €. On a personal level even a single accident, injury or fatality is too much. New measures are required to tackle this problem.

Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) that are already widely in use in vehicles are seen as an important set of tools to tackle the road safety challenge. With the development of more powerful processors, communication technologies, sensors and actuators, it is possible to design ever more sophisticated integrated active safety systems, which can mitigate the consequences of an accident or even completely avoid it.

Recognising this potential, the Commission together with the automotive industry and other stakeholders established in 2002 the “eSafety Working Group” consisting of some 40 experts. Its mandate was to propose a strategy for accelerating the research, development, deployment and use of intelligent safety systems based on Information and Communications technologies for improving road safety in Europe.

In November last year, the Working Group published its Final Report, which a High-Level meeting of all stakeholders later endorsed as the basis for further actions. This Final Report contains in all 28 recommendations for the European Commission, the Member States, road and safety authorities, the automotive industry, service providers, user clubs, the insurance industry and other stakeholders.

These recommendations aim at improving road safety through integrated safety systems that use advanced ICT for providing new, intelligent solutions which address the involvement of and interaction between the driver, the vehicle and the road environment. In this integrated and global approach to safety, the autonomous on-board safety systems are complemented with co-operative technologies, which use vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication to get information about the road environment for assessing the potential hazards and optimising the functioning of the on-board safety systems.

This Communication brings forward the measures the Commission intends to take to promote the development, deployment and use of integrated safety systems, called Intelligent Vehicle Safety Systems.

Appendix 2

Proposed Commission Actions


1To facilitate co-operation of all stakeholders, the Commission will continue to support the eSafety Forum, aiming at a self-sustained platform.
2The Commission will determine clear goals and priorities for further RTD under its 6th Framework Programme, and pursue co-ordination with national programmes.
3The Commission will determine what further actions are required on Human Machine Interaction.
4The Commission will promote harmonised, pan-European in-vehicle emergency call (e-Call) service that builds on the location-enhanced emergency call E-112.
5The Commission will analyse the progress made in the provision of Real-Time Traffic and Travel Information (RTTI) in Europe, and propose further actions.
6The Commission will take the necessary steps to support the removal of legal barriers to the use of 24 GHz UWB short-range radar.
7The Commission will review the relevant parts of the existing EC vehicle type-approval legislation.
8The Commission will analyse the needs and priorities of standardisation in ISO, CEN and ETSI.
9The Commission will estimate the socio-economic benefits.
10The Commission will support the development of a European Code of Practice.
11The Commission will promote the elaboration of Industrial Road Maps and the corresponding Public Sector Road Maps.

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