The UK’s Campaign for Safe Road Design is playing a lead role in calling on the EU to promote a programme of safety engineering on high-risk roads across Europe. It claims the programme will reduce the annual €160bn (2 per cent of European GDP) cost of road crashes by €50bn.

The Campaign makes its call for action to MEPs tonight (2 December) as the European Road Assessment Programme, EuroRAP, publishes maps for 15 EU countries showing the busy high-risk roads where deaths are concentrated.

According to the Campaign, in the past 10 years, two million people have been killed or suffered life changing injury in road crashes in the countries of the EU. It is asking MEPs to sign a pledge to support the Campaign and make safe road design a key element in Europe’s new Road Safety Action Plan for the decade ahead.

According to Dr Joanne Hill, head of the UK’s Campaign for Safe Road Design: “A safe road needs road users who obey traffic law, manufacturers who provide safe vehicles and authorities who provide safe roads.”

She claims the way risk on Europe’s roads is managed “would not be accepted in any other field such as air, rail or factory safety and is a quarter of a century out of date. We need to move from just treating blackspots where some have already died to systematically removing the known high risks that will lead to hundreds of thousands being killed or seriously injured in the decade ahead.”

“The public understands the role safe driving can play. Euro NCAP crash tests have helped the public understand the role that features like air bags and crumple zones play in cars with 4 and 5-star safety. Now, as Europe prepares a new Road Safety Action Plan for the decade ahead, there is an urgent need for public policymakers to understand the new EuroRAP mapping and how we can cut road casualties by up to a third through affordable safety engineering on high-risk roads,” says Hill.

At a dinner in Brussels tonight (2 December) hosted by the European Campaign for Safe Road Design, MEPs will be asked to sign a pledge supporting a commitment to a formal safe road infrastructure. The Campaign believes this could cut deaths and serious casualties by up to one-third (50,000 annually) in less than a decade. This will save at least 300 deaths and serious injuries every day in Europe worth 0.5 per cent of European GDP (€50 billion) annually.