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Safer roads on the horizon - 19/03/2008

Young people riding in a convertible

No more impunity for dangerous driving abroad.

Three quarters of road deaths in Europe are caused by speeding, drink driving, jumping red lights and not wearing a seatbelt. As things stand, if you do any of these things outside the country your car is registered in, you'll go unpunished even though if you could kill someone. This is about to change.

The latest EU road safety initiative aims to make the person behind the wheel accountable for their driving behaviour through a new legal framework backed up by a data exchange network to identify offending drivers throughout the EU.

The EU has been seeking to halve the number of road deaths by 2010 since 2001 when 54 000 people were killed on Europe's roads. Despite the progress made, there were still 43 000 road deaths in 2007 – that's equivalent to 5 planes crashing in Europe every week.

Measures put in place so far have had limited effect. In 2003, the Commission introduced some voluntary best practice for monitoring the enforcement of traffic regulations. Trends since then have shown that such guidelines do not deliver the desired results.

The new proposals are expected to radically reduce the number of deaths on the road.

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