EU road safety plans ‘needed to go further’

'MISSED CHANCE': IAM Roadsmart wanted the EU to include driver training in its road safety plans.
'MISSED CHANCE': IAM Roadsmart wanted the EU to include driver training in its road safety plans.

A new package of EU transport proposals that promise to revolutionise road safety in coming years has been welcomed by IAM RoadSmart.

But the road safety charity believes that a ‘huge opportunity’ has been missed by not specifically including driver training.

The Third Mobility Package has been put forward by the European Commission. It includes proposals for new safety features to be fitted on all new cars being sold across the EU (see below).

Road traffic accidents remain the biggest killer of young people in the EU - 23,500 people lost their lives on EU roads in 2017. This means the EU’s vision of halving road fatalities between 2010 and 2020 is now looking tough to achieve.

The commission has proposed a policy framework for 2021 to 2030 to respond to the new challenges in road safety based on the ‘Safe System’ approach. It aims for a more forgiving road system, designed to protect people from death and serious injury. But IAM RoadSmart is disappointed the EU has not embedded driver training in its policy framework.

Research boss Neil Greig said: “The directive and measures suggested here are very welcome, but as we often say the key to accident prevention is to stop them happening in the first place. It would have been very useful to have worked in a requirement for a graduated driving licence scheme that also includes a second phase of training post-test.

“New drivers are most at risk in the first six months of solo driving and many EU countries, including the UK, simply abandon them to learn from their own mistakes.

“Saving people’s lives on the road cannot be left to the car alone. New technology brings many benefits but also requires new training approaches to ensure that those benefits are maximised. Safer cars require safer drivers as well as safer roads to ensure the system delivers the excellent targets set by the EU for a further 50 per cent reduction in deaths by 2030.”