SWOV Catalogus

321486

Position paper on the "The European Commission’s Road Safety Action Programme : communication from the Commission : halving the number of road accident victims in the EU by 2010 : a shared responsibility COM (2003) 311 final".
20031564 ST [electronic version only]
Papí, J. & Halleman, B.
Brussels, European Union Road Federation (ERF), 2003, 8 p.

Samenvatting The European Commission’s third Road Safety Action Programme signals an important and welcome change in official policies by recognising that “road improvement saves lives”. Infrastructure – the “third pillar” of road safety – is now well understood as a determining factor in the causes and consequences of accidents. As it stands, the paper comprises an assortment of some 60 measures geared at sharing information and best practices among Europe’s Member States, harmonising safety standards and – where appropriate – legislating on road safety. Adapting these broad guidelines to the infrastructure pillar will ensure that motorists are no longer the first casualty of poorly planned, designed, signposted and maintained road networks. Promoting the implementation of good practices in road engineering and management can help bridge the gap between Europe’s best and worst-performing countries. Chief among these well-established practices are regular road safety audits and inspections which assess objective risk factors posed by the road environment from the early stages of design to continuous monitoring. Where adapted, Community legislation is also required. The ERF recently supported a Commission proposal to harmonise the technical requirements and safety organisations of Europe’s road tunnels, arguing that this effort would generate a more rational approach to tunnel safety management. A forthcoming directive announced in the Communication will encourage Member States to draw up national work programmes outlining their actions to eradicate “black spots” through a combination of cost-effective countermeasures and driver information. What the Commission’s paper insufficiently underlines however, are the tragic consequences suffered by motorists who are being denied access to a consistently high level of safety along European road networks. Today’s patchwork of road and road equipment standards – particularly along the Trans-European Road Network (TERN) – can only be resolved if the European Commission acts decisively to put technical harmonisation at the top of its priority agenda. (Author/publisher)
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