Brussels, le 27 April 2007
As part of its strategy to halve the number of road accident victims by 2010, the European Commission is today organising the first European Road Safety Day. This year, the Day – which will be an annual event – is dedicated to young drivers: ‘Youth on the Road, Road Safety is no Accident’.
Jacques Barrot, Vice-president of the Commission responsible for transport, said: “My aim is that these European Road Safety Days should give an extra boost to the efforts we are all making to improve road safety. We have made a lot of progress but there can be no let-up. I am particularly happy that so many young people are now working to change things.”
The main aim of this Day is to provide young people with an opportunity to explain their commitment to others in the field of road safety. They will also have a chance to share their experiences (both good and, sometimes, bad) and enable initiatives to be set up in the future. It is a symposium organised mainly for young people. The representatives of the institutions and our regular partners working in the field of road safety have been invited to hear their demands for greater safety on the roads.
Young people in the European Union, particularly those aged between 18 and 25, account for more than their fair share of road accident victims. Saving their lives will mean tackling many problems which are often of concern to society as a whole, such as education, training, the acquisition of know-how and the temptations offered by alcohol and drugs.
Over 400 participants from some 35 countries in Europe and elsewhere are taking part in this conference, which is being held at the end of the first Global Road Safety Week, itself focusing on young road users. The European Commission has given active support to this Global Week.
Jacques Barrot is particularly eager to hear what young people have to say, recognising that they are still paying an excessively heavy price in terms of road accidents. That is why, on the basis of the statistics prepared for this occasion, he believes the Commission should provide follow-up to today’s initiative. It should give young people who wish to become involved in this field the practical and moral support they need in order to pursue and step up their efforts, by organising an annual ‘Youth hearing on road safety’ in Brussels.