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European Commission


Brussels, 15 May 2013

Better information for safer EU roads – frequently asked questions

Key facts and figures

Road safety related traffic information

EU figures1 show that road fatalities have decreased by 43% over the last decade – in 2012 around 28,000 people were killed and more than 1.5 million injured in about 1 million traffic accidents on EU roads, costing society approximately € 130 billion (see IP/13/236).

Among the most frequent causes of accidents are bad weather conditions (bad weather cost the EU’s transport system at least € 15 billion annually2) and unprotected accident areas (15% in France3). According to the German automobile club ADAC, 3% of fatal accidents on German motorways are caused by people driving the wrong way.

According to estimates from various studies and research projects4, the global effect of road safety related traffic information can lead to a reduction of 2.7–7% for fatalities and 1.8–6.3% for injuries.

This translates into financial savings of between € 75 and 118 million annually depending on the extent of the information services (i.e. the wider the coverage the higher the benefits).

Safe and secure parking spaces for trucks

Around 44 people die and 1430 are injured every year because of dangerous parking.

2% of accidents involving trucks are related to parking. Half of them could be prevented by avoiding off-site and dangerous parking.

A combination of static and dynamic information, indicating the location of parking areas and the availability of parking spaces, could decrease the number of accidents by 40%, at the same time increasing productivity by up to €160 million (reducing costs related to accidents = up to €48 million, reducing driving time and kilometres spent for search of parking = up to €90 million5, reducing external costs = up to €24 million6).

1. The regulation on 'road safety related traffic information services'

What is road safety related traffic information?

Road safety related traffic information consists in early warnings to road drivers on unexpected and potentially dangerous traffic situations or road conditions.

Such unexpected dangerous situations can be for instance the presence of an animal/person/obstacle on the road, a wrong way driver, a temporary slippery road, exceptional weather conditions, an unprotected accident area or an unexpected blockage of the road.

Road safety related traffic information enables motorists to better anticipate, adapt their driving behaviour according to the message received, and therefore avoid serious accidents.

What is the current situation?

In most Member States the key components of road safety related traffic information services (e.g. data collection, organisational/operational framework) are already available, at least for the motorways, although Member States are at different stages of readiness and quality for the provision of the information service.

In recent years, private value chains have developed alongside the existing public ones, leading to a situation where in most Member States both private and public organisations collect, aggregate and validate traffic data in parallel.

There is already a significant market in place for the provision of traffic information services through various delivery channels and devices. Such delivery channels can be roadside variable message signs, radio services (spoken or digital), mobile phone applications and in future even on-board units in intelligent cars.

What is the problem?

The existing patchwork of national, regional and local provision of road safety related traffic information is slowing down its overall deployment and hampers the provision of a seamless harmonised service across the EU. The information at the disposal of road drivers varies between Member States in terms of content, format, coverage and quality.

The emergence and proliferation of traffic information and navigation applications from private service providers, with business models based on subscription or bundling of premium services, could prevent motorists from having access to information related to dangerous traffic situations at no extra cost in the future.

The new regulation

The new regulation defines minimum requirements for the provision of road safety related traffic information. This will guarantee interoperability and continuity of the information service along the trans-European road network throughout Europe, including across borders. As a direct result it will enhance road safety and indirectly it will also foster European competiveness and growth.

The new regulation remains technology neutral to fully acknowledge and encourage future innovations.

2. The regulation on safe and secure parking for trucks

What information services are available for truck drivers?

Information services are providing the necessary indications for truck drivers to decide when and where to stop to comply with social regulation about driving time. Information provided to drivers, transport companies and dispatchers are the location of the next parking areas along the route and the services provided in these areas in terms of security, safety and comfort.

In case of high demand for safe and secure parking in certain areas, truck drivers are redirected from a full parking area to another location where free safe and secure spaces are available in order to avoid dangerous parking. This dynamic information about parking availability will be disseminated through all relevant means (variable message signs on the road, radio, smartphone applications, etc.).

What is the problem?

  • There is no up-to-date inventory of suitable, safe and secure parking spaces for trucks based on a harmonised classification of facilities along the main European roads.

  • There is very little dynamic information provided to drivers and transport companies about available parking spaces in the different parking facilities for trucks and commercial vehicles.

  • There is no common definition for collecting, processing, sharing and disseminating these data and for indicating how users can access information on safe and secure parking spaces.

  • The existing capacity of truck parking areas along the main EU transport corridors is not always used efficiently.

  • Truck drivers may park on hard shoulders and this leads to accidents.

The new regulation

The new regulation defines minimum requirements for the provision of information services for safe and secure parking spaces for trucks and commercial vehicles. This will be done by defining shared responsibilities between public and private stakeholders.

3. Data collection and dissemination (concerning both regulations)

In order to provide the information services, road operators or parking operators and service providers will collect data on potentially dangerous situations (e.g. traffic, weather, emergency report) and on safe and secure parking places. These data will be made available in a common European format for exchange and re-use by any road operator, parking operator and service provider. Data sharing will be made possible through national digital or international access points. These national access points can take the form of a data repository, database, data registry, web-portal or similar.

4. Consequences

The new regulations do not make the deployment of information services mandatory. However, if and when Member States, operators and service providers want to develop and deploy such information services, they will have to comply with the regulations' requirements.

In order to accommodate different national situations and objectives (i.e. local circumstances, organisational framework and capacity of investment), Member States will be responsible for the geographical delineation of the information services.

More information

1 :

Based on the European centralised database on road accidents: CARE

2 :

The costs of extreme weather for the European transport system, EWNT project, VTT, 2012

3 :

Analysis of fatal accidents on concessionary motorways, ASFA, 2011

4 :

Based on extensive literature review including CODIA, eIMPACT, PROSPER, Easyway, road operator reports

6 :

is of fatal accidents on concessionary motorways, ASFA, 2011

Based on extensive literature review including CODIA, eIMPACT, PROSPER, Easyway, road operator reports

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