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Safety issues

This is the knowledge base meant for the European Road Safety Observatory of the European Commission. On this part of the website, you will find high quality information on important road safety issues.

The information is scientifically founded, easy to read and ready to use. For each subject, the information consists of an overview of the magnitude of the problem, prevalence and countermeasures.

The web texts were developed in SafetyNet and updated in DaCoTA. This was done under supervision of an editorial group (SafetyNet) and editorial board (DaCoTA).

More information on the procedure that has been followed to get high-quality web texts can be found under Method s.

Editorial group (on the SafetyNet-website)

Editorial board

In DaCoTA, web texts are revised under responsibility of an Editorial Board.
The following highly esteemed experts are member of the Editorial Board:

  • Rune Elvik, TOI, Norway
  • David Lynam, TRL, UK
  • Ralf Risser, Factum, Austria
  • Claes Tingvall, Swedish Road Administration, Sweden
  • Pete Thomas, VSRC Loughborough university, UK

The editorial board is chaired by Divera Twisk (SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research).

Age groups

Children

Children are the most vulnerable traffic participants. While cars are becoming safer for children as car passengers, the highest risk of fatality for children is still as car passenger,  followed as pedestrians and then as cyclists.

Road safety measures for children need special attention as children are not just small adults.  You can find more about children and road safety in the text on this issue below.

Text on children and road safetypdf(483 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (DaCoTA, 2012)

Older drivers

Older drivers are frailer, making them more vulnerable than other road users. As a result, older drivers have a relatively high fatality rate. The text on older drivers (below) gives more information about the limitations of the older driver, situations where older drivers are over-represented in crashes, and effective countermeasures.

Update of text on older driverspdf(548 kB) Choose translations of the previous link . (DaCoTA, 2012)

Text on older driverspdf(420 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (SafetyNet, 2006)

Facts and figures
Furthermore, you can find facts and figures related to older drivers in the basic fact sheets on Elderly (aged > 65) and Gender.

Elderly (aged >65)pdf(2 MB) Choose translations of the previous link  (Basic Fact sheets 2011)
Genderpdf(2 MB) Choose translations of the previous link  (Basic Fact sheets 2011)

Novice drivers

In every crash and fatality statistic, 16-24 year old drivers are largely over-represented. You can find more about the magnitude and causes of the problem, and effective countermeasures in the text below.

Update of text on novice driverspdf(540 kB) Choose translations of the previous link . (DaCoTA, 2012)

Text on novice driverspdf(322 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (SafetyNet, 2006)

Facts and figures
Furthermore, you can find facts and figures related to novice drivers in the basic fact sheets on Youngsters (aged 15-17), Young people (aged 18-24) and Gender.

Youngsters (aged 15-17)pdf(6 MB) Choose translations of the previous link  (Basic Fact sheets 2011)
Young people (aged 18-24)pdf(2 MB) Choose translations of the previous link  (Basic Fact sheets 2011)
Genderpdf(2 MB) Choose translations of the previous link  (Basic Fact sheets 2011)

Road users

Pedestrians and cyclists

Pedestrians and cyclists suffer the most severe consequences in collisions with other road users because they cannot protect themselves against the speed and mass of the other party. Find out more on crash characteristics involving pedestrians and cyclists in the text below. This text also contains information on effective countermeasures.

Updated text on pedestrians and cyclistspdf(511 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (Dacota, 2011)

Text on pedestrians and cyclistspdf(416 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (SafetyNet, 2006)

Facts and figures
Furthermore, you can find facts and figures related to pedestrians and cyclists in the basic fact sheets on Pedestrians, Cyclists, Children (aged < 15), Youngsters (aged 15-17) and Elderly (aged > 65).

Pedestrianspdf(4 MB) Choose translations of the previous link  (Basic Fact sheets 2011)
Cyclistspdf(3 MB) Choose translations of the previous link  (Basic Fact sheets 2011)

Children (aged < 15)pdf(3 MB) Choose translations of the previous link  (Basic Fact sheets 2011)

Youngsters (aged 15-17)pdf(6 MB) Choose translations of the previous link  (Basic Fact sheets 2011)

Elderly (aged >65)pdf(2 MB) Choose translations of the previous link  (Basic Fact sheets 2011)

Powered two wheelers

Powered two wheelers (PTW) consist of mopeds (55cc and restricted top speed) and motorcycles. Riding a PTW is much more dangerous than other ways of traffic participation. The text below contains more information on contributing factors to crashes and injury, licensing issues and effective countermeasures.

Updated text on powered two-wheelerspdf(520 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (DaCoTA 2012)

Text on powered two wheelerspdf(297 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (SafetyNet, 2006)

Facts and figures
Furthermore, you can find facts and figures related to PTW in the basic fact sheets on Motorcycles and mopeds, Youngsters (aged 15-17) and Elderly (aged > 65).

Motorcycles and mopedspdf(2 MB) Choose translations of the previous link  (BFS 2010)

Youngsters (aged 15-17)pdf(2 MB) Choose translations of the previous link  (BFS 2010)

Elderly (aged >65)pdf(2 MB) Choose translations of the previous link  (BFS 2010)

Hazardous behaviour

Alcohol/drugs

About 25% of all road fatalities in Europe are alcohol related whereas about only 1% of all kilometres driven in Europe are driven by drivers with 0.5 g/l alcohol in their blood or more. As the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) in the driver increases, the crash rate also rises. Learn more about risks of drink-driving and effective measures in the text below.

Update of text on alcoholpdf(468 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (DaCoTA, 2012)

Text on alcoholpdf(292 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (SafetyNet, 2006)

Cell phone use while driving

Since in-car telephones first appeared in the mid-1980s, the use of hand-held and, more recently, hands-free devices has rapidly increased. At the same time, a significant body of research indicates the adverse consequences of driver distraction associated with use of a cell phone while driving, whether hand-held or hands-free. You can find out more in the text below.

Text on Car telephone use while drivingpdf(298 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (DaCoTA, 2012)

Driver distraction

The task of driving requires continuous attention to road and traffic circumstances and vehicle control. A driver may pay insufficient attention to the driving because the driver is occupied with other activities like making a phone call, tuning the radio, listening to the radio, talking with a passenger, or eating while driving, etc.

Text on driver distractionpdf(521 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (DaCoTA, 2012 )

More information on distraction by cell phone use while driving can be found herepdf(298 kB) Choose translations of the previous link .

Fatigue

Fatigue leads to a deterioration of driving performance, which results in an increased risk of crashes. Find out more about the mechanisms involved in fatigue processes, and preventive strategies and countermeasures in the text below.

Updated text on fatiguepdf(545 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (DaCoTA, 2012)

Text on fatiguepdf(451 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (SafetyNet, 2006)

Speed and speed management

Speed is at the core of the road safety problem. In fact, speed is involved in all accidents: no speed, no accidents. In the text below, you can find out more about.

Updated text on speeding and speed managementpdf(361 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (DaCoTA, 2012).

Updated text on speedingpdf(452 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (SafetyNet, 2006)

Work-related road safety

Work-related motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death in the workplace in industrialized countries. Find out more about the risks and background of this problem and effective countermeasures in the text below.

Updated text on work-related road safetypdf(396 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (DaCoTA, 2012)

Text on work-related road safetypdf(277 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (SafetyNet, 2006)

Post crash

E-safety

E-safety is a vehicle-based intelligent safety system which could improve road safety in terms of exposure, crash avoidance, injury reduction and post-crash phases. Find out more about the expected effects of e-safety and initiatives on this issue in the text below.

Updated text on e-safetypdf(645 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (DaCoTA 2012)

Text on e-safetypdf(335 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (SafetyNet 2006)

Post impact care

Post-impact care is a strategy which aims to reduce the severity of injury consequences once a road traffic crash has occurred. Read more about developments en effects of post impact care in the text below.

Update of text on post impact carepdf(494 kB) Choose translations of the previous link . (DaCoTA, 2012)

Text on post impact carepdf(242 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (SafetyNet, 2006)

Road safety measures

Roads

Every road traffic crash starts at a road. Road elements play an important role in the probability of crash or the final outcome. Find out more about safe design principles, road management and road-driver interaction in the text below.

Update of text on roadspdf(444 kB) Choose translations of the previous link . (DaCoTA, 2012)

Text on roadspdf(533 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (SafetyNet, 2006)

Speed enforcement

Traffic law enforcement is one of the effective measures to influence (speeding) behavior. The text below gives you more information on the mechanisms behind traffic enforcement, specific speed enforcement methods and their effects, and future developments.

Updated text on speed enforcementpdf(495 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (DaCoTa, 2012)

Text on speed enforcementpdf(382 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (SafetyNet, 2006)

Vehicle safety

Improving vehicle safety is a key strategy used in addressing international and national road casualty reduction targets and in achieving a safer road traffic system. The text below gives more information on safe vehicle systems, their effects but also the knowledge gaps that still exist.

Updated text on vehicle safetypdf(2 MB) Choose translations of the previous link  (DaCoTA, 2012)

Text on vehicle safetypdf(844 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (SafetyNet, 2006)

Policy issues

Cost-benefit analysis

The text below describes the use of cost-benefit analysis to assess the impacts of road safety measures. It describers the main steps that are taken in a cost-benefit analyses and which measures are most cost effective.

Text on cost-benefit analysispdf(280 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (Dacota, 2012)

Updated text on cost-benefit analysispdf(235 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (SafetyNet, 2006)

Integration of road safety in other policy areas

The integration of road safety into other policy areas can achieve benefits for a range of interventions. This text looks at what integration means in relation to several policy areas and examines three key policy areas in more detail: employment, environment and health.

Text on integration of road safety in other policy areaspdf(665 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (DaCoTA, 2012)

Quantitative road safety targets

A high price in human and economic terms is currently being paid in Europe for motorized road mobility. The text below addresses the role that quantitative road safety targets can play, how this can be done and how to ensure accountability.

Updated text on quantitative road safety targetspdf(834 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (DaCoTA, 2012).

Text on quantitative road safety targetspdf(317 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (SafetyNet, 2006)

Road safety management

The text below addresses the importance of good road safety management and knowledge about effective ways to improve road safety in countries. Issues like recent developments and results, integration with other policies, and the role of leadership and accountability are discussed.

Updated text on road safety managementpdf(499 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (DaCoTA, 2012)

Text on road safety managementpdf(448 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (SafetyNet, 2006)

Safety ratings

Safety rating systems present impartial information on aspects of traffic system safety. The text below addresses practical implications of safety ratings as well as current practive, effectivity and the importance of having them accepted.

Updated text on safety ratingspdf(408 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (DaCoTA, 2012).

Text on safety ratingspdf(176 kB) Choose translations of the previous link  (SafetyNet, 2006)