Brussels, 13 October 2010
Better road safety: European Road Safety Days 2010
For the third time, European Road Safety Days are being held on 13 and 14 October 2010 in Brussels. On this occasion the European Commission is organising, in cooperation with the Belgian Presidency, a conference which will examine several issues: those injured in road accidents, the challenges facing different categories of road users, and infrastructure. The conference will attribute particular importance to the cross‑border fight against the offences which cause most deaths and will also be the occasion to present the strategic guidelines on European road safety policy for the period 2011‑20. Taking part alongside Siim Kallas, Commission Vice‑President in charge of transport, will be Mr Etienne Schouppe, Belgian Federal Minister for Mobility, and Mr Brian Simpson, Chair of the European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee.
'The European Road Safety Days are a perfect opportunity to take stock. While tens of thousands die on our roads each year, incomparably more are injured. We must also be aware of vulnerable categories of road users – such as motorcyclists, whose increasing death rate on our roads remains worrying. Progress must necessarily also include improving the road infrastructure, which must become a systematic concern of network managers', stressed Vice‑President Kallas, who has made road safety one of his priorities for action.
Progress and challenges relating to road safety
Since 2001, the number of road deaths has fallen considerably throughout the EU, by 44% overall including an estimate for 2010. Some countries have made even more progress, such as Latvia with a fall of 55%, or Portugal, Estonia, Lithuania, Spain and France, where the number of road deaths has fallen by half compared to 2001. But road safety remains a major problem for society. In 2009 more than 35 000 people died on the EU's roads, equivalent to the population of a medium‑sized town. For every person who dies on a European road, it is estimated that 4 people are permanently disabled by injuries such as brain or spinal injuries, 10 are seriously injured and 40 suffer minor injuries. The economic consequences for society are estimated at €130 billion a year.
The focal points of the conference
The road safety conference on 13 October will be the occasion to present to a large audience the strategic guidelines on European road safety policy for the period 2011‑20, as adopted by the Commission on 20 July. The conference will be divided into three sessions. The first will be devoted to the injured. The second will examine the problems of several categories of road users: the ageing population, cyclists, motorcyclists and drink‑drivers. The third will examine the problem of the safety of road infrastructure.
The second day (14 October) is an initiative of the Belgian Presidency. It will be centred around a seminar devoted to improving coordination between the police and judicial bodies in order to combat the most serious offences beyond national borders.
Throughout both days, a 'road safety village' on the European Parliament esplanade will present stands and demonstrations to the general public.
Third time that the European Road Safety Days have been held
The European Road Safety Days aim to raise awareness of the challenges relating to road safety among decision‑makers and public opinion and to change road users' behaviour so that urban mobility is safe, reassuring and accessible to all.
These third European Road Safety Days will attribute particular importance to the cross‑border fight against the offences which cause most deaths.
The theme of the first European Road Safety Day was young drivers. The second, in 2009, focused on road safety in the urban environment.
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