ETSC urges EU to tackle issue of safety measures on rural roads
According to the ETSC, in 2009 at least 21,500 people lost their lives on rural roads across Europe, totaling 55% of all road deaths.
In the Council's 18th Road Safety PIN Flash, France, Luxembourg and Portugal achieved the highest annual reductions in road deaths on rural roads with more than a 9% average reduction since 2001. Latvia, Belgium, Israel, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands follow closely behind with annual reductions of over 6% on average. France, Portugal, Latvia and Belgium are countries that have achieved rapid overall reduction in road deaths over the same period. The reduction in speed has been the single most important factor in the recent French road safety success, and this has been especially marked on rural roads.
Following the publication of these results, the ETSC is recommending key rural road safety measures to the EU and Member States. It says that known measures to improve safety on rural roads include safe road design, safe infrastructure management, and better enforcement of traffic rules, in particular of speed limits.
It also says that Sweden has pioneered new safe designs for roads which are not motorways. Since 1998, there has been a large programme of single carriageway upgrade into "2+1 roads" and adds that this provides the model for all countries where traffic is too light to upgrade major routes to motorways.
'We urge all Member States to take advantage of the transposition of the Directive on Infrastructure Safety to introduce mandatory road safety impact assessments and audits for new roads and rehabilitation projects, and inspections and benchmarks to the existing rural network,' said Antonio Avenoso, ETSC executive director. 'We also encourage the European Commission to support Member States with technical guidelines covering the management of high-risk sites and the promotion of traffic-calming measures to tackle speed.'