MAKE TRANS-EUROPEAN ROUTES BENCHMARKS FOR ROAD SAFETY
A call for EU-wide legislation to raise the safety on the Trans European Road Network (TERN) to 4-star standard by 2010 comes in a European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP) response to EC proposals on safer road infrastructure. EuroRAP believes this to be the right action for road users who will soon be as intolerant of 2- or 3-star sections of these vital trade routes as they are of cars with just a 2- or 3-star safety rating.
Two per cent of Europe’s GNP, equal to roughly EUR160 billion, bleeds away annually through road accidents – and 500,000 deaths and 5 million serious injuries have been suffered in the last 10 years. EuroRAP wants losses of this scale to receive mass remedial action – and road safety to be treated as the huge public health issue it is. It also urges the EC to focus on keeping the pressure on states to eliminate their high-risk roads, not to focus on detailed engineering solutions.
Other recommendations are:
- Laws to ensure that all states make available publicly-funded road accident data to allow independent assessment of safety performance
- Commitment to focusing resources on upgrading existing roads where the greatest number of lives can be saved
- A campaign for Pan-European awareness on how improving safety on roads themselves can make a much greater contribution to achieving the EU target of halving road deaths by 2010
“The loss of half a million lives in the last ten years demands the same commitment to road infrastructure safety as that given to rail and air. Every few years, thousands of road sections across Europe see more casualties than a major rail crash, yet the cost of saving casualties represents a fraction of that spent on rail, air and factory safety, where laws are more stringent,” says John Dawson, Chairman of EuroRAP.
“Measures to eradicate high-risk stretches of road can give inestimable relief in terms of lives saved and injuries reduced – and some of the highest investment returns available in the economy. Failure to fund these measures is a gross misallocation of public money. Safety improvements to eliminate 2- and 3-star roads on the TERN would provide a high-profile template for making roads safer in all European member states.”