European Road Safety Policy 2016-2020: A Forecast on Topics and Activities

Armin Kaltenegger, Birgit Salamon, Gerald Furian

Objective

25,500 people were killed on European roads in 2016. Thus, despite the achievements of the past, there is still need for action in order to reduce the number of people killed or injured in road traffic. Road safety will therefore certainly continue to be a part of the political agenda of the EU and its member states. However, the topics and activities of road safety policy that will determine the next few years are less apparent. Official programmes usually provide an insight on a very general level only. For this reason, the Austrian Road Safety Board (KFV) has asked the Erfurt University of Applied Sciences to carry out a policy analysis in order to clearly forecast the actions of the EU 2016-2020 in terms of road safety policy. The forecast aims at supporting the work programmes of public and private institutions as well as decision makers.

Method

The study was based on an evaluation of programmes and legal acts of the past years as well as on expert opinions. From the results, conclusions were drawn on the activities and actions to be expected till 2020.

Results

The results were structured according to the seven objectives defined by the European Commission in its policy orientations on road safety 2011-2020. Among others, the following developments can be expected in the near future:

- The EU Commission is revising several directives, most importantly the directive on initial qualification and periodic training for professional drivers (a proposal has already been published), the infrastructure directive (with a possible inclusion of all highways and a focus on motorcycles and ITS), and the tunnel safety directive.

- Other directives have been or are currently being evaluated and will most likely be revised in the future. This includes the driving license directive and the cross-border enforcement directive. Apart from that, in the field of enforcement, only recommendations on the exchange of good-practice are expected.

- Technical vehicle safety and the promotion of the use of modern technology will gain more importance. A report on advanced vehicle safety features was published in December 2016, a proposal can be expected in 2017. In 2018, new directives on technical vehicle inspection are going to be applied in the member states. A “road package” has been published in May 2017, targeting electronic road toll systems, competition in commercial road transport as well as social conditions of professional drivers. C-ITS (cooperative ITS) are becoming a priority: Based on a strategy published 2016, networked vehicles should be introduced by 2019. A review of the ITS action plan and directive is pending

- Driver distraction and the safety of senior road users are a subject of EU-funded research projects. Results will be published within the next years. However, no legislative proposals are expected. 

- Reducing the number of seriously injured will be a core objective in the future: A reduction goal of 50% has been set by the Council of the European Union for the period 2020-2030.

The results show that the developments of the last years point towards a full and active agenda till 2020 and beyond. This roadmap will support all stakeholders in road safety in their contribution.

Keywords

European Union, road safety policies, political agenda

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