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European Road Safety Action Programme : halving the number of road accident victims in the European Union by 2010 : a shared responsibility : COM (2003) 311 final.
C 25510 [electronic version only]

Brussels, Commission of the European Communities CEC, Directorate-General for Energy and Transport, 2003, 43 p.; Communication from the Commission ; COM (2003) 311 final

Samenvatting Road safety directly affects all of the territory of the European Union and all its inhabitants: in the 15-member European Union, 375 million road users, 200 million of them driving licence holders, use 200 million vehicles on 4 million km of roads. Ever greater mobility comes at a high price: 1300000 accidents a year cause 40000 deaths and 1700000 injuries on the roads. The direct and indirect cost of this carnage has been estimated at €160 billion, i.e. 2% of EU GNP. Although there has been a slow but regular improvement in safety overall (during the last 30 years, the overall volume of road traffic in the countries which today make up the EU has tripled, while the number of road deaths has fallen by half), the situation is still socially unacceptable and difficult to justify to the citizen. In its White Paper on European transport policy, the Commission has therefore proposed that the European Union should set itself the target of halving the number of road deaths by 2010. Although the Community has contributed to road safety over very many years, in particular through more than 50 technical standardisation directives, and despite the fact that the Maastricht Treaty clarified the legal means available to the Community to establish a framework and to act, the Member States have been highly reluctant to take action at Community level, witness the harmonisation of blood alcohol limits which has been under discussion for twelve years. The Commission will propose standardising the rules on checks concerning the road traffic offences which cause the most deaths and concerning compliance with social regulations. In the context of a proposal on road infrastructure, the Commission propose action to deal with particularly hazardous places. Another proposal will concern the recasting of the Directive on driving licences. This communication also describes a number of direct and accompanying measures which the Commission plans to implement to enhance the benefit of the activities undertaken by the European Union, in particular the development of new safety technologies under the Research Framework Programmes to add value to the efforts made by the Member States. This action programmes aims to: – encourage road users to improve their behaviour, in particular through better compliance with the existing legislation, basic and continuous training for private and professional drivers and by pursuing efforts to combat dangerous practices, – make vehicles safer, in particular through technical harmonisation and support for technical progress; the aspects concerning electronic technologies ("eSafety") will be covered by a forthcoming Commission communication on information and communication technologies for intelligent vehicles". – improve road infrastructure, in particular by defining best practices and disseminating them at the local level and by eliminating accident black spots. It describes in particular specific measures for establishing a methodological framework to identify and disseminate best practices, through the drafting of technical guides, improving the collection and analysis of data on accidents and physical injuries, and pursuing research and development to find solutions for the future. The Commission hopes that everyone concerned will sign up to and cooperate in the programme in question. To this end, it proposes that everyone in authority, with decision-making powers, or acting in an economic, social or representative function should give a solemn undertakings and subscribe to a European Road Safety Charter. Apart from complying with universal principles, each signatory would undertake to implement specific actions. The commitments given will be publicised and compliance with them monitored. (Author/publisher) See also C 25511 fo.
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