To mark the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims on 18 November, the European Commission released its final road safety figures for 2017 last week.
For the second year in a row, they show a decrease by 2% of road fatalities in the European Union (EU) compared to the previous year.
Although this downward trend is encouraging, 25,260 lives were still lost on EU roads in 2017. In built-up areas, pedestrians were revealed to be particularly vulnerable, accounting for 40% of all fatalities.
In light of such figures, the European Commission has undertaken major steps to move closer to its ultimate goal of Vision Zero, namely to eliminate all road deaths and serious injuries by 2050.
Earlier in the year, two legislative proposals on infrastructure and vehicle safety were included in the third of its Europe on the Move mobility packages, "Safe, connected and clean mobility". Key specific actions were set out in a Strategic Action Plan on Road Safety.
These focused on enhanced road safety governance, safe roads and roadsides, safe vehicles, safe road use, emergency response, alongside stronger financial support for and the future-proofing of road safety.
At the heart of many of these is the "Safe System" approach. This takes human fallibility and vulnerability into account and aims for a holistic view of the road transport system that caters for all users, including drivers, motorcyclists, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, and commercial and heavy vehicle drivers. The approach will also inform the EU road safety policy framework for 2021-2030.
To drive forward its road safety strategy, Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc announced the appointment of Matthew Baldwin as new European Coordinator for Road Safety in October.
He will continue in his current role as Deputy Director-General of DG MOVE and combine the responsibilities of his new role with work on sustainable urban mobility, particularly in relation to vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists in the coming era of connected, automated and autonomous mobility.
To read the Strategic Action Plan on Road Safety, click here.
To see the final road safety figures for 2017, click here.
Find out more here on the "Safe, connected, and clean mobility" package.