12 October 2021
By Tom Collins
Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune is supporting new road safety measures being considered such as a 30 km per hour speed limit and the introduction of lifesaving technologies. MEP Clune highlights how advancements in technology have made vehicles safer in recent years and how we must continue to focus on using technology to make roads safer and save lives.
Road safety measures are being proposed by MEPs in Europe and they say measures like these are the only way to reach zero deaths on EU roads by 2050.
Figures show that around 22,700 people die on EU roads every year, with around 120,000 seriously injured. The EU missed its self-imposed target to halve the number of road deaths between 2010 and 2020. Across the EU the number of road deaths dropped by 36% in that time, while in Ireland the number of road deaths in this time dropped by 30%.
MEP Clune welcomes the recent revision of the General Safety Regulation, which will make new advanced safety features in vehicles such as intelligent speed assistance and emergency lane keeping systems mandatory in the EU from 2022. An Emergency Lane Keeping System is a system that helps drivers keep a safe position of their vehicle with respect to the lane or road boundary. Figures show that these advancements will have the potential to save around 7,300 lives and avoid 38,900 serious injuries by 2030.
Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune said: “Even one road death is unacceptable. Ireland has one of the best road safety records in Europe but we still have a lot of work to do. Speeding is one of the main reasons for so many fatalities on our roads. Speed is the reason for around 30% of fatal road crashes. It is vital that we look at ways of how we can reduce speeding on the roads and I welcome the move to bring in a maximum speed of 30km per hour in residential areas and areas where there are high numbers of cyclists and pedestrians.
“As technology has advanced in recent years we have seen the development of safer vehicles but we can continue to use advancements in technology to ensure our roads are a safer place. We are also asking the Commission to look at incorporating a “driving safe mode” in drivers’ mobile phones which would help limit distractions while driving. We must do all we can to reach our target of halving road deaths by 2030. We can and we must continue to go much further on improving road safety and I am optimistic about the potential for new lifesaving technologies and better policies to help us do that.”
Figures show the safest roads in Europe remain in Sweden while Romania reported the highest death rate in 2020. However, with 42 road deaths per one million inhabitants, the EU remains the continent with the safest roads in the world. As a comparison, the world average lies at more than 180.
MEPs also want more investment in infrastructure that would deliver on road safety, focusing on zones with the highest number of accidents. They call on member states to create National Road Safety Funds that would channel sums received from road traffic fines into road safety projects.