Calls for greater progress in reducing road deaths

Transport safety campaigners are calling on the European Union to accelerate progress in reducing the number of people killed in cars every year in the EU, as new research shows 12,345 car occupants were fatally injured in 2012.

The report into trends in car occupant safety, published by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), found that 900 lives could be saved every year in the EU if car manufacturers were required to fit seat-belt reminder sensors to front and rear passenger seats to help prevent deaths from failure to wear belts. The European Commission is currently revising vehicle safety rules, with new proposals expected next year.

“While huge progress has been made in cutting the number of people killed in cars on Europe’s roads it is simply wrong that 12,000 still die every year for reasons that are mostly avoidable,” commented Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of ETSC. “Simple measures like seat belt reminders in front and rear passenger seats, better enforcement of speed limits, and measures to prevent repeat drink drivers from getting behind the wheel could put the EU’s target of halving the number of road deaths by 2020 firmly within reach.”

Despite the large number of deaths still occurring, the report finds that existing measures have been very effective – and should be widened.

The report estimates that 8,600 car occupants survived severe collisions in 2012 because they were wearing a seatbelt. The number saved each year by improved occupant protection, such as airbags and side-impact bars built into cars is harder to estimate, but is thought to number in the thousands.

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