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Vision zero target
Over 31,000 road fatalities each year. 1 in 5 are under 25
“The tragic loss of young lives on European roads is unacceptable. I am most concerned by accidents due to drugs or alcohol, especially among young men and women”: said vice President, Siim Kallas, responsible for Transport, disclosing information on accidents at the 4th European Road Safety Day, celebrated on July 25. The Commissioner focussed mostly on road accidents which involved young people between 18 and 25; therefore the Commission’s focus on the need for a series of preventive initiatives.
What further steps? “I am optimistic that we can advance towards our “vision zero” for EU road safety, as we made progress in the last 10 years, “ Kallas said. “Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go. Only by changing young people’s driving mentality can we continue to save lives”. The number of road accidents, one million among the 27 Member States, - according to data disclosed by the executive- are still the biggest cause of death and disability for young people, in both the world and Europe. Total number of victims in one year are more than 30,000 in the EU, one million and a half injured citizens. 19% of road fatalities in the EU affected young people between 18-25 years old, “although this age group comprise only 10% of the total population”. This means that those aged between 18-25 face almost twice as high a risk of dying in traffic accidents. The European Union therefore started the road safety Action Plan 2011-2020; but Member States must take concrete action without further delay. Actions should be aimed at improving education and training of road users, safer urban and regional roads, highways (in some countries infrastructure viability is deemed poor), safer vehicles, improved emergency and post-injuries services. Without neglecting stricter enforcement of road rules on risky driving (speeding, drunk driving, …).
Alarming figures. On July 25th, Nicosia hosted an international Conference marked by the Road Safety Day. Other events were scheduled in various EU cities. The meeting in Nicosia was attended by groups of young people, road safety organizations and officials who work in the safety area coming from all Eu and neighbouring countries. Among various data disclosed for 2010 (latest data available worldwide): 31,000 fatalities in road accidents involved young people between 18-25 years old- 60% were boys and 20% girls. Road fatalities per transport mode: car passengers (66%), two wheelers (20%), pedestrians (2%), bicycle (8%) others (bus. 4%). Road fatalities among young people are not inevitable. Road deaths for the 18-25 age group decreased by 49% from 2001 to 2010. In order to reach the ambitious objective of cutting road deaths in half, young people must be actively involved.
Compensation. Last week the Commission started public consultation to help victims of cross-board road accidents: in this case the focus is not so much on direct consequences on people (safety, emergency, medical care) but on difficulties that victims involved in more or less serious accidents, which happen in other Member States different from their domicile, may face in obtaining compensation or insurance assistance. Considering that around 130 million European citizens have planned a holiday to another Eu country this year, and more than three-thirds will be traveling by car or motorbike, we realize the importance of this issue. “Inevitably some holidaymakers will be involved in some type of road accident either on the way or during the vacation”, the Luxembourg Commissioner for Justice, Viviane Redding pointed out. But how can they claim compensation if they are victims of an accident in a country other than their own? Where can they file their claim? And what are the deadlines for a compensation claim? Therefore, the European Commission launched a public consultation “to help victims of cross-border road accidents, who may currently face difficulty because of varying limits for claiming compensation damages”. The consultation can be accessed through the Commission’s website and will run until 19 November.