"European Day Without a Road Death": Success for road safety awareness across Europe
The first Project EDWARD (European Day Without A Road Death), which took place in 31 countries on Wednesday 21 September 2016 proved to be a successful awareness-raiser. More than 103,000 organisations and individuals signed a road safety pledge on the website of the European Traffic Police Network (TISPOL) and more than 80 road safety actions were organised across Europe, including information and awareness-raising activities in schools and companies, workshops, conferences and competitions. In addition, the #ProjectEDWARD and #seatbeltselfie social media campaign reached more than 19 million people.
The campaign, launched by TISPOL, was widely supported by the European Commission as part of the European Mobility Week.
According to TISPOL's statistics, there were 43 road deaths across 31 countries on 21 September 2016. This compares with 70 fatalities on the same day in 2015. 19 countries recorded zero fatalities. Seven other countries recorded a reduction in fatalities, compared with the same day in 2015, and three countries recorded an increase in fatalities.
Project EDWARD supported the idea that road safety concerns all of us when, on average, 70 people die and a further 370 are seriously injured every day on Europe’s roads. It was an opportunity to encourage all road users to reduce risks and improve safety while they are driving, walking or cycling. Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said: "Education and awareness make important contributions to road safety, and Project EDWARD sets an extremely ambitious target: to achieve a day without a single death on Europe’s roads. This year, we recorded a significant improvement compared to 2015, which shows that when all stakeholders come together we really make an impact and save lives. We are on the right path to make the aspirational goal of zero fatality a reality."
TISPOL President Paolo Cestra said: “When we launched Project EDWARD, we accepted that it would be incredibly difficult to achieve a day without road death across Europe. But we believe these results show that when everyone works together towards such a worthwhile goal, we can make a big difference. We thank everyone who signed the pledge, who shared our information messages and who made one or two small differences in the way they use the road. Any small individual action counts in helping to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads of Europe."
As part of the campaign, private and public entities as well as the civil society across the EU were mobilised to contribute by sharing the message, by making a pledge on TISPOL's website and by organising road safety activities to be carried out on 21 September or during the European Mobility Week. The Road Safety Day interactive map hosted on the European Commission website gives visibility to these projects: www.roadsafetydays.eu.
#ProjectEDWARD was a runaway success on social media: it was trending on Twitter in many countries and even made it into the top 50 trending topics globally. There were 7,923 Twitter posts, with a unique reach of more than 19 million It was so successful that it featured in Twitter's ‘Moments’ section, which presents the most important topics happening at a particular time.