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Road safety: European action plan continues to deliver results – target of saving 25 000 lives on Europe's roads by 2010 is attainable

Commission Européenne - IP/07/584   27/04/2007

Autres langues disponibles: FR DE DA ES NL IT SV PT FI EL CS ET HU LT LV MT PL SK SL BG RO

IP/07/584

Brussels, 27th april 2007

Road safety: European action plan continues to deliver results – target of saving 25 000 lives on Europe's roads by 2010 is attainable

The Commission's European Road Safety Action Plan, launched in 2001, may reach its target on schedule. The aim is to halve the number of fatalities on Europe's roads over the period 2001-2010, reducing the total number of deaths from almost 50 000 to 25 000. The latest figures, released on the occasion of the first European Road Safety Day, show clearly that this ambitious objective was justified: the last 12 months have seen an 8% reduction in fatalities. In 2006, nearly 12 000 lives were saved in the European Union in comparison with 2001.

"Thanks to the concerted efforts of the European Union we can reach our target in 2010, provided we stay on course. There is no guarantee of this, however, so we need to maintain our efforts," said Commission Vice-President and Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot, who reiterated that road safety was a priority of his mandate. Mr Barrot called on all Member States to study the report that has just been published and to draw the necessary lessons from it. "Above all, I urge Member State governments whose figures are alarming to take firm action," he added.

Looking beyond bald figures and statistics on the number of road accident victims, it is essential that we be able to evaluate the performance of countries by means of carefully chosen indicators. Such indicators point to the actual impact of policies and make it possible to improve the way specific problems are dealt with. These results are being presented to a wide public at the first European Road Safety Day.

On this occasion, the Commission is publishing for the first time the results of the "SafetyNet" project, financed under the 6th Research Framework Programme. The project has laid the foundation for a European Road Safety Observatory, and has produced important research on performance indicators for road safety.

The report [1] focuses on seven road safety performance indicators: alcohol and drug use; speed; seat belts and helmets; the use of daytime running lights; passive safety of vehicles; road infrastructure; first aid for victims. The first three indicators are both the most important and the best documented.

The results from the countries it covers vary greatly. For example:

5% to 30% of road deaths result from accidents involving at least one driver over the legal alcohol limit.

Up to 50% of drivers do not observe speed limits.

67% to 97% of occupants of cars or light vans wear front-seat belts, but only 28% to 89% do so in the back. 20% to 96% of children below the age of 12 use child seats.

Although the protection offered by vehicles (passive safety) is improving from year to year, it is striking to note that the gap between the countries with the best results and those with the worst has not shrunk.

The tables below give an overview of the performance of the various Member States plus Switzerland and Norway with regard to drink-driving, the wearing of seat belts and the use of child seats. As regards data on speeding, the national thresholds are too disparate for a comparative table to be compiled.

The performance indicators are part of the “road safety scoreboard” system, unveiled today at the first European Road Safety Day.

Table 1: Percentage of deaths on the road resulting from accidents involving at least one driver over the legal alcohol limit (unless otherwise stated)

Country
Legal limit (mg/ml)
%
Comments
Czech Republic
0.0
4.8%

Austria
0.5
5.9%

Belgium
0.5
8.2%
Only 20% of drivers involved in fatal accidents tested
Netherlands
0.5
8.3%

Hungary
0.0
8.7%
Of which 8.4% involved drivers with more than 0.5mg/ml of alcohol in their bloodstream
Greece
0.5
9.4%

Poland
0.2
9.8%

Germany
0.3
12.1%

Slovakia
0.0
12.9%

Lithuania
0.4
14.8%

Denmark
0.5
16.0%

United Kingdom
0.8
17.0%

Switzerland
0.5
19.3%

Latvia
0.5
21.7%

Norway
0.2
22.2%
Drunk drivers killed as a percentage of all drivers killed
Cyprus
0.9
22.5%
Legal alcohol limit reduced in 2006 to 0.5 mg/ml
Finland
0.5
23.4%

Estonia
0.2
23.5%

Sweden
0.2
25.0%
On the basis of autopsies carried out on drivers who had been killed
Portugal
0.5
27.8%
Drunk drivers killed as a percentage of all drivers killed
France
0.5
28.8%
Percentage of fatal accidents where the driver had been tested
Spain
0.5
29.5%
Drunk drivers killed as a percentage of all drivers killed

Table 2: Percentage of occupants of private cars or light vans wearing seat belts in the front seat (by day)

Country
%
France
97%
Germany
96%
Malta *
96%
Sweden
92%
Netherlands
90%
United Kingdom
90%
Norway
90%
Finland
88%
Ireland
86%
Portugal *
86%
Denmark
85%
Austria
83%
Switzerland
82%
Luxembourg
80%
Poland *
78%
Latvia *
77%
Spain
74%
Estonia
74%
Czech Republic
72%
Italy *
71%
Belgium
71%
Hungary
67%

* drivers only

Table 3: Percentage of occupants of private cars wearing seat belts in the back seat (by day)

Country
%
Germany
89%
Norway
85%
United Kingdom
84%
Finland
78%
Sweden
73%
France
70%
Netherlands
64%
Denmark
63%
Luxembourg
60%
Switzerland
53%
Austria
52%
Spain
51%
Ireland
46%
Portugal
45%
Czech Republic
41%
Hungary
34%
Estonia
30%
Malta
28%


[1] The report is available on the “road safety” page of the Europa internet website at: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/roadsafety/road_safety_observatory/rspi_en.htm.


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