Almost 4,000 people are killed and many hundreds of thousands injured on roads throughout the world every day. Here in the European Union we have some of the safest roads in the world, yet 70 people still die every day. World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims offers an opportunity to draw attention to the scale of the problem.
For every death on Europe's roads there are an estimated 4 permanently disabling injuries such as damage to the brain or spinal cord, 8 serious injuries and 50 minor injuries. These injuries often have life changing consequences, family, work, money, health, mobility, and social life can all be affected.
Let’s put this into context – serious injuries in the EU account for 370 people per day; that's the same number as can be found on one large airplane, or 22 high-speed train crashes monthly.
Vulnerable road users are highest at risk, especially pedestrians, children, the elderly and people on two-wheelers. The majority of fatal accidents occur on inter-urban roads, only 8% on motorways. Pedestrians make up 11% of fatalities in non-urban areas.
So, what can be done? One are being explored are innovative technologies. Human errors are to blame for 90% of accidents. Innovative technologies are set to make European roads even safer by helping avoid them.
Cooperative intelligent transport systems will exchange information between vehicles and road infrastructure. Driver assistance technology will help for safety and comfort, including advanced emergency breaking, intelligent speed assistance, lane departure warning systems, adaptive cruise control and fully automated park assistance.
The EU’s 112 emergency number is being integrated into eCall systems that will allow vehicles to automatically call 112 in case of an accident - reducing response times in the countryside by up to 50% and in town by 40%.
These are just some of the innovative technologies set to make EU roads safer.
The costs of road crashes – borne by affected families and society as a whole – are enormous. They remain the leading cause of death and acquired disability of young people, particularly young men, under the age of 45 – the very people whose contributions are greatly needed by their countries.
The Brussels based United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe - UNRIC provides information on UN activities to the countries of the region. It also provides liaison with institutions of the European Union in the field of information. Its outreach activities extend to all segments of society and joint campaigns, projects and events are organized with partners including the EU, governments, the media, NGOs, schools and local authorities.
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