Road Safe and Aware
Almost all Road Traffic Accidents (RTA's) involve at least one driver or motorcyclist, there are Very few which only involve a pedestrian or cyclist.
The majority of road users are undoubtedly car drivers, who (in the main) rarely (if ever) undertake any further driver training after they've passed their driving test. Drivers operate powerful vehicles in high speed, competitive and stressful environments which are often shared with vulnerable road users, including children, the elderly, cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders. In addition, they are often under significant pressures to complete their journeys as quickly as possible and to cope with a range of distractions, most notably using mobile phones. Drivers and riders do this with only relatively basic training, once in their lifetime. Once they have gained their full Licence, very few receive any further training.
In some countries national or local governments also allow for variable speed limits, whereby the limit is varied according to time of day (daytime/night time) or time of year (summer/winter). A further step is to introduce dynamic speed limits which take into account the actual traffic and/or weather conditions on the road.
Improving Road Safety - Driving
There are several areas where Road safety can be improved, many of which all of us are aware. The list below are the main areas, which - if drivers were to adhere to - would have a significant impact upon reducing death and injury on the road.
- Lane discipline
- Driving under the influence of Alcohol or Drugs
- Mobile phone use whilst driving
Improving Road Safety - Other
Asides from the obvious points (listed above), there are other areas where Road Safety can be improved. Undoubtedly, the condition of our roads must figure highly here, as properly constructed and well maintained roads is an obvious factor in ensuring roads are safe. It must also be noted here that where the subject of construction is concerned, this also means roads that drain properly during inclement weather and minimise the risk of vision impairment and aqua-planing.
Increasing truck stops 'will boost road safety'
There can be no argument that the improvement and further provision of secure overnight lorry parking facilities and service areas across the country will go a long way to improving the safety of our roads. Unlike other EU countries, the UK sadly lacks an adequate number of rest areas and overnight parking facilities with the facilities that make travel safer and more enjoyable.
The provision of rest areas/truck stops that offer refreshment and decent toilet/washing facilities in the UK is a disgrace, especially considering the imposed legislation on commercial drivers. There can be no argument here that a driver who has rested, eaten properly and had the opportunity to take a shower is a driver who feels refreshed, alert and is undoubtedly a safer driver as a result.
The consequences of drivers not having access to safe truck stops/rest areas are very serious as not only does the quality of their rest have a real impact on the safety of their driving, but it also puts them at the mercy of the criminal fraternity who target commercial vehicles.
Having somewhere to park safely with proper facilities also gives drivers of commercial vehicles the oppoprtunity of checking their loads and vehicles to ensure that the remainer of their journey is completed safely. An indication of what could be prevented by having these facilities is the 400 instances of wheel loss from trucks in 2006.
Many Road Safety organisations are doing a great deal to improve Road Safety standards through the EU, an example of which is the recent extract from the European Transport Safety Council below.
On 14 January 2010, more than a hundred EU road safety experts and stakeholders met in Brussels at the European Transport Safety Council's (ETSC) Safety Lunch to discuss new 2020 targets.
The European Commission is expected to publish its 4th Road Safety Action Programme this spring showing that here has been a 28% reduction in European road deaths between 2001 and 2008. If current trends continue road deaths are likely to fall by a third in 2010.
ETSC stresses that the adoption of the target in 2001 was essential in reducing the number of deaths and that the opportunity to further reduce this by 2020 should not be missed.
Prof. Richard Allsop presented the ETSC proposal to reduce road deaths proposing that serious injuries could be reduced by 40% between 2010 and 2020. ETSC's Blueprint for a 4th Road Safety Action Programme (RSAP) proposed a number of new measures focussing on well known risk areas such as speed, drink and drug driving and non seat and child restraint use.
Other possible avenues include the application of new life saving technologies, such as intelligent speed assistance or the introduction of improved post accident care with eCall. These and many other measures included in the ETSC's Blueprint, if implemented extensively, will allow the EU to achieve new targets in the future.
MEPs also questioned the new Transport Commissioner and Vice President Designate Kallas in the European Parliament. ETSC Executive Director Antonio Avenoso stated. "We have high hopes that Commissioner Designate Kallas will place the new Road Safety Action Programme at the top of his agenda". Alongside the adoption of new ambitious road safety targets for 2020, the time is ripe for implementing new measures to realise the rights of EU citizens to safe mobility.