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Cutting road deaths by half - 12/10/2010

Marrying diligent driver behaviour, quality road infrastructure and sound vehicles for safer roads across Europe.

About 35 000 people died on EU roads in 2009, a drop of more than a third since 2001. While this is a vast improvement, it’s hardly cause for celebration. According to a recent EU survey on road safety in Europe, most people agree that more should be done to reduce accidents.

Speeding, drinking and driving and not wearing a seat belt are leading causes of road deaths. But badly maintained roads and unsafe vehicles also pose unnecessary risks.

A new set of EU road safety guidelines proposed last July focus first on training drivers and stepping up the enforcement of traffic laws. They also call for better roads, especially in rural and urban areas where the vast majority of accidents take place in comparison to motorways.

Vehicles could be made safer through the use of intelligent technologies, such as sensors to warn when a vehicle strays outside its lane.

Each year, 17% of deaths involve motorbike or moped users even though they make up just 2% of road users. Safety features such as advanced brake systems would improve this mode of transport’s lagging safety record.

For the third year running, the EU marks European road safety day on 13 October. This year the Commission presents these new guidelines for the next ten years, reaffirming the commitment it made in 2001 to half the number of road deaths.

Meanwhile, the Belgian presidency of the EU will showcase in Brussels some of the work done across the EU to combat the most common traffic offences.

More about safety on Europe’s roads

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