Fourth European Road Safety Day: For more engagement of youth in road safety
Road crashes are still the biggest cause of death and disability for young people, in both the world and Europe. 19% of road fatalities in the EU in 2010 affected young people aged between 18-25 years old (although this age group comprise only 10% of the total population). This means that those aged between 18-25 face almost twice as high a risk of dying in traffic accidents. The European Commission is therefore dedicating its 4th European Road Safety Day to young people. The day is marked by a conference, jointly organised with the Cyprus Presidency, which will takes place on 25 July in Nicosia. The conference brings together youth groups, road safety organisations and road safety officials from all EU Member States, as well as from neighbouring countries for a day of discussions, presentations and workshops.
Vice President Siim Kallas responsible for Transport said, "The tragic loss of young lives on European roads is unacceptable. I am most concerned by accidents due to drugs or alcohol, especially among young men and women. I am optimistic that we can advance towards our 'vision zero' for EU road safety, as we made good progress in the last 10 years. Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go. Only by changing young people's driving mentality can we continue to save lives."
Young people aged between 18 and 25 are over-represented in road traffic fatalities. In 2010:
- 31 000 fatalities in road accidents involved young people between 18 and 25 years old - 80% were boys and 20% girls.
- In 40 % of fatal accidents a young driver was involved.
- 25% of fatalities involving car drivers are young people - 81% boys and 19% girls.
- Road fatalities of young people per transport mode: 66% passenger cars, 20% power two wheelers, 2% pedestrians, 8% pedal, 4% others (HGV, bus …)
In the host country of the 4th European Road Safety Day, the figures are even more alarming. In Cyprus this age group represented 23% of all road fatalities. More data on road accidents per age group and country can be found in the European Commission CARE database.
Road fatalities among young people can are not inevitable. Road deaths for the 18-25 age group decreased by 49% from 2001 to 2010, more than the general decrease (43%).
Young car drivers are particularly vulnerable, however, for this group road deaths also decreased by 55% during the same period.
In order to reach the ambitious objective of cutting road deaths in Europe in half by 2020, young people must be actively involved. The European youth must be encouraged to contribute to road safety, for example by sharing their own ideas on new ways forward.
The 4th edition of the European Road Safety Day is organised jointly by the European Commission and the Cyprus EU Presidency. On the agenda are issues such as the creation of a road safety culture among young people, workshops on education, enforcement and risky behaviours. For the full programme, see the event website.
European Road Safety Day aims to raise awareness of the challenges relating to road safety among decision makers and public opinion and to change road users' behaviour so that mobility is safe and accessible to all.
The event provides the opportunity to launch the new European Youth Forum for Road Safety Facebook page to continue fostering debate and awareness among the growing community of young European activists involved in road safety. In addition, a new road safety video targeted at young citizens will spread the message that 100 000 lives were saved between 2001 and 2010 - and that together we can continue saving more lives by 2020.
Already in 2007, the first European Road Safety Day focused on young drivers. The second, in 2008, focused on road safety in the urban environment. In 2010, the third European Road Safety Day gave particular importance to the cross border fight against offences.
See also the EU road safety action plan 2011-2020 [99 KB] which covers issues such as the quality of driver licence training for young novice drivers and awareness campaigns targeted at young people.
Helen Kearns (+32 2 298 76 38)
Dale Kidd (+32 2 295 74 61)