December 15 press release

By Victor Jones,2014-12-03 16:55
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December 15 press release

EMBARGO: Not for release before 12.00hrs (noon) on 15 December 2005



    1With the publication of From Arctic to Mediterranean, eighteen countries launch today (15

    December 2005) a pan-European campaign to help save 20,000 lives annually by 2010. The report provides a detailed „state of the nations‟ account of each country‟s efforts to make the road itself safer; it is also a Europe-wide manifesto, calling for risky roads to be upgraded using known, affordable safety features.

    The report sets out how the safety of roads can now be measured and shown on colour coded maps to an international standard and how progress in eliminating risky roads can be tracked, year by year. The new techniques have been developed by the European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP), the sister programme to EuroNCAP that awards star ratings to new cars for their crash safety.

Each participating country knows that effective road safety is a dynamic combination of „safer

    drivers, in safer cars on safer roads‟. However, this first, coordinated assault on the toll of death and injury across Europe will focus on the safety of the road itself because, although campaign messages to make drivers and cars safer are well understood, messages about making roads safer are not.

    The new report backs the drive by EU Vice President, Jacques Barrot to save 20,000 European lives a year by 2010. In his preface to EuroRAP‟s new report, Barrot says, “Europe needs a well

    informed and factual debate about infrastructure. In this debate, we must look carefully at the newly researched measures of risk on Europe's roads.”

     1 See Notes to editors 3

During 2006, the Safer Roads Save Lives campaign will carry the message that some of the most

    substantial reductions in death and serious injury can be achieved by applying road engineering measures on a wide scale and at relatively little cost. This „mass action‟ approach to improving safety performance will target particularly high-risk single carriageway roads on which large numbers are dying.

    John Dawson, Chairman of EuroRAP says, “As drivers, most of us fall well short of perfection, so we need a road system designed for ordinary human beings who make mistakes. We must not allow everyday driving errors to be punished by a death sentence. Roads can be designed to reduce the likelihood of mistakes and, when mistakes do happen, to be more forgiving by

    preventing the high-energy collisions that kill and maim. Putting things right sometimes needs little more than the cost of a stretch of safety fencing, or paint to improve road markings.

“The countries that have signed up to the Safer Roads Save Lives campaign are at different

    stages of road-safety development but they are all on the same road and unanimous about the need to make roads safer. And the campaign has received a huge and timely boost by Austria‟s commitment to include the promotion of safer road infrastructure as a theme of its EU presidency in the first half of 2006.”

     From Arctic to Mediterranean key elements

National casualty reduction targets:

    ; the EU has a target to reduce the number of road accident victims by 2010 and most

    countries have national targets in place

    ; with nearly 40,000 people dying annually on Europe‟s roads, the safety spotlight has to

    turn on roads themselves to reduce fatal and serious injuries

    ; some experts believe safer roads could reduce deaths by as much as 80 per cent over

    coming decades road infrastructure improvements are expected to deliver the greatest

    savings compared to improvements to vehicles and driver behaviour, particularly in

    countries where traffic law is generally respected

Making crashes survivable:

    ; uncushioned, the human body cannot survive impacts above 40km/h (nearly 30mph)

    ; with a good European New Car Assessment Programme (EuroNCAP) star rating, the car

    will absorb some of the crash energy

    ; if the vehicle also hits a crash barrier, it will absorb more of the energy and make the

    crash survivable.

    ; in high-impact road accidents, the car alone cannot protect its occupants much above


    ; providing drivers and passengers wear seatbelts, the combined energy-absorbing

    capabilities of the car and the road can work together to save lives


    Making roads safe:

    ; preventable deaths that happen time and time again on the same roads must not be


    ; protecting against human error is understood in rail, aviation and workplace safety but

    not so readily with road safety

    ; because human error contributes to nearly every crash, road safety policy has been

    focused on „fixing the driver‟.

    ; but most crashes happen when ordinary people make mistakes

    ; around 1 in 500 driving decisions can be wrong and the results can be tragic ; death is an unacceptable sentence for law-abiding drivers who unexpectedly face a

    momentary situation with which they cannot cope

    ; safe roads minimise the chance of these situations arising, and if they do occur, they

    minimise the severity of the crash

    Four types of accidents that need targeting:

    ; just four types of crash are responsible for most deaths and serious injuries

    o head on collisions

    o collisions with solid objects at the side of the road (run-off crashes)

    o side impacts at junctions

    o collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists

    ; analysing crash types shows how best to save lives, eg, good motorways which

    separate opposing lanes of traffic, built-in wide hard shoulders and few intersections, as

    well as placing barriers around roadside hazards make the risk of a driver being killed

    much lower than on a single carriageway

    EuroRAP protocols tools for making roads safer in any country:

    ; risk-rate mapping colour-coded maps showing the risk of death and serious injury that

    road users face on different roads

    ; performance tracking identifying whether fewer people are being killed or seriously

    injured on a road over time and identifying the most effective countermeasures ; star rating to show how well a road protects road users if a crash occurs

    Who benefits?

    ; Road-users will be

    o able to understand road safety risk and how it changes on different standards

    and types of road

    o more likely to adapt their driving to reduce their risk of a crash

    o better able to understand and respect the reasons for traffic laws and speed

    limits that reflect the risk of being killed or seriously injured

    ; Road authorities, planners and engineers will know from EuroRAP benchmarking how

    well their roads are performing compared with those in other authorities and other

    countries Europe-wide and what they can do about it.

    Priority targets

    ; every decade:

    o there are around 500 million road crashes in Europe, which are mostly minor


    o people will be hurt in 50 million crashes

    o life-changing, disabling injuries or death will occur in 5 million crashes ; targeting deaths means targeting major single carriageway roads where fatal and serious

    accidents are concentrated


    ; because most of Europe‟s roads have lower than average risk, it is possible to accurately

    identify the high-risk roads that drag the average down even in a country with a good

    safety record, deaths could be slashed by more than a quarter by a programme which

    achieved just today‟s average on all roads

Mass action safety programmes ‘the big fix’:

    ; the impact that mass action or „big fix‟ can have is not well understood by policy makers,

    the public or even non-specialist road engineers.

    ; the cost of upgrading the safety of routes in a Mass Action Safety Programme is far lower

    than piecemeal change

    ; wide-scale, cheap and simple fixes can prevent fatal consequences when crashes do

    occur safety fencing on a long stretch of road can be 10 times cheaper to install than

    token local improvement at the site of the most recent tragedy

    ; new roads are normally built to recent safety standards and those built in the last 25

    years can be at least twice as safe as the rest of the network but most of the road

    network is not new

    ; „Mass Action Safety Programmes‟ that apply EuroRAP protocols to upgrade road safety

    repeatedly across a network can include:

    o provide „sheltered‟ turning lanes

    o put safety fencing around solid roadside objects

    o install high skid-resistant surfacing and high-visibility markings on bends

    o replace old T-junctions and crossroads on major routes with roundabouts

    o put high-visibility markings on minor road accesses to high-speed roads

    o improve road alignments to reduce excessive speeds through villages

    o replace surface level junctions on high-speed dual carriageways


    Media contact(s):

    Dr Joanne Hill 0044 7917 59 97 98

    Barry Walsh 0044 7836 76 55 89

    Notes to Editors

    1 A viewable PDF version of the report is available from Dr Joanne Hill (above) st2 From Arctic to Mediterranean, 1 Pan European Progress Report, publishes at:

    The Safer Roads Saving Lives Conference:

    15 December 2005, at 12.00hrs (noon)

    The Renaissance Hotel

    Rue du Parnasse 19

    B-1050 Brussels


    Conference details from: Brenda King,, Tel: 0044 1256 345598

    3 The 18 participating countries are: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.


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