DEKRA Annual Reception in Brussels

EU Objectives for Road Safety in Danger

29. Sep 2016

DEKRA Brüssel

  • Expert organization presents Road Safety Report 2016
  • Enhanced safety through automated in-vehicle systems
  • More problems caused by inattention - including among pedestrians


The expert organization DEKRA has presented its European Road Traffic Report 2016 in Brussels. Referring to the report, the Chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism in the European Parliament, Michael Cramer (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance member) said: "The negative trend reversal in traffic fatalities and serious injuries that can be seen from the report is extremely worrying and the need for action is obvious. There is no doubt that further automation can have a positive influence on these figures in the future – but we cannot wait that long. We also must not be led to believe that technology could avert all dangers. Other measures, including a safe infrastructure and road safety education at an early age are still vital elements." The accident figures published by the European Commission this year are alarming – with the number of traffic fatalities in the EU rising again last year for the first time since 2001. In the 28 EU member states, around 26,000 people were killed on the roads in 2015 – an increase of 1.2% on the previous year. In light of this, the EU's strategic target of halving the number of traffic fatalities between 2010 and 2020 is in acute danger. "All the more reason, therefore, to call upon all stakeholders to make every effort to reverse this trend and build on the successes of previous years," says Stefan Kölbl, Chairman of the Management Board of DEKRA e. V. and DEKRA SE. This year's report focuses on passenger transportation – in particular cars, which still account for by far the biggest proportion of individual mobility.

The risk of suffering fatal or serious injuries in passenger transportation has decreased significantly over many years in nearly every EU member state. But this positive downward trend seems to have stalled somewhat. In 2015 the number of traffic fatalities in Germany increased for the second year in a row – by 2.4% to 3,459 deaths. In France, 3,461 people died on the roads last year (+ 2.3%). And in Italy, according to preliminary data, the number of traffic fatalities rose by 1.1% to 3,419. This is the first increase since 2001. Almost 40% of all traffic fatalities in the EU occur in Germany, France and Italy.

"It is particularly alarming if the number of traffic fatalities is increasing in precisely those countries where people have comparatively modern cars," said Clemens Klinke – member of the Management Board of DEKRA SE and responsible for the Automotive business unit – who presented this year's DEKRA Road Safety Report on passenger transportation at the annual event in Brussels.

Tackling Challenges with Even More Focus
As far as passenger transportation is concerned, for decades car drivers have constituted the road user group most frequently involved in accidents with casualties. In Germany in 2014, for example, the figure was 63.5%. For serious accidents with material damage, this figure was as high as 86%. This must therefore be a key focus if we want to make our roads even safer in the long term
The main cause of accidents resulting in personal injury and/or material damage is human error. As statistics show, time and time again, people are responsible for around 90% of accidents. Unsurprising, therefore, that the automotive industry has been placing ever more importance on driver assistance systems such as electronic stability control, emergency braking systems, distance control, lane keeping assist and fatigue warning systems. All these systems can detect critical driving and traffic situations at an early stage, alert drivers to dangers and even actively intervene if necessary.

Mobility 4.0 key technologies play an important complementary role here, too. Thanks to intelligent infrastructure and the networking of vehicles to facilitate communication either between cars (car-to-car) or from cars to centralized and decentralized systems (car-to-infrastructure), these technologies can also help to further reduce the number of accident-critical situations and, in turn, the number of serious accidents resulting in death and serious injury.

Changing the legal framework
Already today, some vehicles are semi-automated and networked. In the future, the number of vehicles featuring automated driving and networking functions will increase significantly. There is no doubt that these systems will open up major potential for reducing the number of accidents and, in particular, the number of killed or injured road users. "But first the legal framework conditions have to be changed," stressed DEKRA Management Board member Klinke.

In addition to the "Vienna Convention on Road Traffic", these measures affect above all national and international provisions regarding the rights and obligations of road users as well as regulations regarding the registration of motor vehicles.

Paying attention is the best safety strategy
While a whole range of measures – including in particular electronic assistance systems – have made our roads safer over the past few years, the experts at DEKRA believe that the positive potential of these measures is partly undone by increasing inattention on the roads. Drivers, and pedestrians, become distracted from what is happening on the road because they are using a smartphone, for example. The dangers of this cannot be underestimated. Observations conducted in six European cities by DEKRA accident researchers revealed that almost 17% of pedestrians use their smartphones while crossing the road. "We believe that work aimed at improving road safety over the next few years must focus in particular on road user distraction. Education is a top priority here," says Klinke, who firmly believes that responsible behavior, a proper assessment of one's own capabilities and a high level of acceptance of rules among all road users are absolutely essential. "Even the very best vehicle technology and road infrastructure cannot change that," the DEKRA Management Board member said in Brussels, expressing his concern.

DEKRA's commitment to greater road safety
DEKRA has been committed to improving road safety for over 90 years. The expert organization was one of the first signatories of the European Road Safety Charter and is just as unwavering in its support of the EU's action program to once more halve the number of deaths caused by road accidents by 2020. In national and international bodies, DEKRA's experts are highly valued as partners in dialog.

New DEKRA online road safety portal
The DEKRA Road Safety Report 2016 is available online to download as a PDF and for browsing. In parallel with the publication of the report, the expert organization has launched the online portal www.dekra-roadsafety.com. In this portal, not only can you find more detailed information on the content of the printed report, e.g. in the form of moving images or interactive graphics, which you can access via QR codes, but it also covers a range of other important topics and DEKRA activities concerning road safety.

DEKRA's demands for greater road safety

  • Greater market penetration of electronic driver assistance systems
  • Easy-to-understand information campaigns about the existence, function and limits of driver assistance systems and clarification of the driver's responsibility at all times
  • Rapid formulation of internationally standardized legal framework conditions for highly automated and fully automated driving functions
  • Ongoing development of technical vehicle monitoring to take account of new electronic systems and safety-relevant communication technology
  • Greater access for inspection organizations to manufacturer's data which are relevant for checking electronic systems
  • Increased use of event data recorders for determining the course and cause of accidents – particularly in combination with automated drive functions
  • Promotion of intelligent infrastructure (car-to-infrastructure communication) and intelligent networking of modes of transport (Mobility 4.0)
  • Prioritization of road safety over cost when it comes to the planning and maintenance of infrastructure
  • Active and attentive participation in road traffic, combined with the greatest possible avoidance of distractions
  • Mutual courtesy and the ability to put oneself in the position of other road users
  • Increase in seat belt usage in cars to 100%, including with the help of suitable and effective checks
  • Systematic implementation of the European-wide compulsory wearing of seat belts in coaches
  • Increase in helmet usage among cyclists – particularly those using pedelecs, which have higher average speeds
  • Earliest possible traffic education as early as preschool and primary school age
  • Driver training with greater emphasis on promoting skills in anticipatory traffic observation and hazard avoidance
  • EU-wide standardization of procedures for assessing driving fitness, using the tried-and-tested German MPU system as a template
  • EU-wide traffic rules, as far as this is possible and sensible

Picture Caption:
DEKRA Annual Reception with the presentation of the 2016 DEKRA Road Safety Report (from left): Johannes Jung, Director of the Representation of the State of Baden-Württemberg to the European Union; Stefan Kölbl, Chairman of the Board of DEKRA e.V. and DEKRA SE; Dr. Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, MEP; Dr. Ludmila Vodzinska, Director General of the Ministry of Transport, Construction and Regional Development of the Slovak Republic; Ulrike Müller, MEP; Michael Cramer, MEP, Chairman of the Committee on Transport and Tourism of the European Parliament; Thomas Pleines, Chairman of the Presidential Board of DEKRA e.V., Chairman of the Supervisory Board of DEKRA SE; Georges Bach, MEP; Oliver Deiters, Managing Director of the DEKRA Representation to the European Union; Clemens Klinke, Member of the Board of DEKRA SE and Head of the Automotive business unit.

Press contact:

Wolfgang Sigloch

Press officer Automotive

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