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World Health Day 2004: road safety

Every year, more than 40 000 people are killed in the 15 Member States as a result of road accidents. Another 1.5 million are injured, often left severely crippled. The fact that so many citizens die violently or suffer horrible injuries while simply going about their daily business gives cause for grave concern. For many, the high number of road fatalities represents the greatest threat to public safety in Europe today. Moreover, the annual cost to the economy exceeds €160 billion. But getting the safety message across is not as easy as it sounds. EU road safety policy follows three strategic lines:

Active safety measures – preventing accidents from happening in the first place, most importantly by influencing driver behaviour through regulation, law enforcement, etc., but also by improving roads and vehicle performance;

Passive safety measures – limiting the negative consequences of accidents, through improved vehicle standards and safety systems;

Information gathering and dissemination – originally intended to influence consumers by providing a realistic and independent assessment of the safety performance of some of the most popular cars sold in Europe. The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) has also had an important influence on car manufacturers, many of whom are now actively involved in road safety issues. Meanwhile, the CARE accident statistics database gathers and makes available information on the causes of accidents and injury.

For more information, visit the safety section of our Surface Transport web site.

Two new research projects launched

Two new research projects on road safety have been launched in the run up to World Health Day:

  • APROSYS (Integrated Project on Advanced Protection Systems) and

  • APSN (Network of Excellence on Advanced Road Passive Safety)

Some recent examples of European Research

Source: TNO website
Learning road safety from dummies

A new breed of nimble crash-test dummy with life-like movement is hitting the road to teach European scientists how car accidents affect the human body. Researchers hope the new prototype will provide insights that will enable them to increase the ‘passive safety’ of Europe’s cars and roads.

Full Story


Crash-test dummies and physical impact tests can only be used to analyse a limited range of accident types and are extremely expensive to run. As two EU-backed projects are demonstrating, computer simulations will one day offer a far more versatile and cost-effective alternative.

Full Story

THOR-FT, FID's latest crash-test dummy

The Fourth European Vehicle Passive Safety Network (EVPSN) Conference took place in Paris on 6 November 2003. Over one hundred representatives from both European and non-European countries exchanged views on strategy and policy and discussed the latest results of work in areas ranging from virtual testing to new restraint systems to the latest developments in crash-test dummy technologies.

Full Story about road safety


World Health Organisation: World Health Day 2004

On-line leaflet: European Research in Action - Road safety

(available in all 11 EU languages via link above)

Research Information Centre: Road Transport

On-line leaflet: European Research in Action - Better health for all

(available in all 11 EU languages via link above)

Research Information Centre: Medicine and Health

APROSYS (Integrated Project on Advanced Protection Systems)

APSN (Network of Excellence on Advanced Road Passive Safety)



last update: 07/04/04