The European Youth Forum for Road Safety is an annual event organized by The European Commission and Responsible Young Drivers Belgium. YOURS has been involved with the event since 2010 and continues to have involvement into 2011 and beyond.
The day began with clear policy orientations of the European Union presented by Isabelle Kardacz, director of the road safety department at the European Commission. Her presentation described strategy and actions for the coming decade 2011-2020. Mrs Kardacz expressed, "This youth forum is an important element for reducing the amount of young people being killed on Europe´s roads, you need to go away from this foum as you did last year and implement action´.
Mrs Kardacz also invited young people to ´give their input to the EU policy orientations´ and wished for the creation of a ´think tank´ to actively influence road safety at the highest level of decision making in Europe.
Youth leaders adopt the European Youth Declaration for Road Safety
One of the most momentous actions that has already taken place comes in the form of the European Youth Declaration for Road Safety. YOURS helped draft the declaration which calls for sustainable road safety action across Europe for the years ahead. The declaration will empower the European youth delegates to initiate action in their nations under the mandate of European Youth Ambassador for Road Safety. This is not just another declaration, among other things, its content focusses on:
- The road safety problem in Europe facing young people.
- The commitment of the European youth delegates to implement action for road safety.
- The importance of the contiunation of the forum in Europe.
- To encourage the development and implementation of policy and initiatives to make European roads safer.
Director of YOURS Mr Floor Lieshout presented about the background of creating a Youth Declaration and how to use this tool for advocacy, he said, "A declaration is as good as its implementation and therefore young delegates should actively make their voices heard using this tool as source of credibility". His presentation is available in the attachments.
In other news, there were presentations of tools, statistics and research related to youth and road safety issues.
The second day of the 4th European Youth Forum for Road Safety held at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium comes to an end which also marks the end of the Forum for 2011. This day was significantly orientated around evaluation, education and on putting the priority on 'life long education' for young people to change mentalities with regards to their attitude and therefore behaviour for road safety.
The first speaker Mr Cecile Beguile from the European Commission gave commendations on the adoption of the European Youth Declaration for Road Safety which held a strong focus on education. Continuing on the theme of education and training, Mr Wale Yusuff, Director of the S.A.M.E Academy in the United Kingdom offered delegates a dynamic and well thought-out presentation about his work to train young people on the principles of Safety, Awareness, Mentoring and Education. The program offers young people a range of skills to be conscious and responsible road users from an early age before their licensing stages.
Dr Julie Gandolfi from the Driver Research Ltd explained to the delegates the most important element of reviewing effective road safety projects; evaluation. Her presentation offered delegates the chance to appreciate the key elements for successful young driver initiatives to which evaluation should be a key monitoring tool for effectives.
Under the continuing theme of education and training, HERMES a European Project captures in a DVD video gave top tips for learner driver coaching. The key message was that 'the coach supports the learner by getting information from them as opposed to putting the information into them', coaching instead of instructing.
After lunch, students from Tallin University explained the innovative educational journey of undertaking a road safety course as a bachelors degree in Estonia. The presentation evoked interest from the delegates who found the concept of a degree in road safety a fascinating idea with a view for further exploration.
With the attendance of our founding partner Michelin, information about the ROSYPE project as well as Michelin's CSR work in global road safety was presented with gusto and energy while delegates can apply for the project to run ROSYPE in one European country at the forum.
Keeping true to the youthful approach to the forum, delegates broke up into two groups and discussed two topics, 'Safety on Two Wheels' and 'Eco Driving' and had a dynamic debate about these areas with regards to bringing more attention to the topics in Europe.
After this, Communications Officer at YOURS, Manpreet Darroch presented about the importance of online media and the advantages and disadvantages of reliance on the internet. His presentation can be found in the attachment. Both Floor´s and Manpreet's presentation will be available to be viewed as a video online shortly as they were last year.
Very exciting news was shared by the European Commission in which the launch of the new 'Going Abroad App' for road safety rules on Europe's roads was shared with the delegates. As well as this, the European Commission revealed that they will be running a youth and road safety Facebook campaign towards the end of the year. More details will be shared in due course.
The final presentations were well received by the delegates of the forum. An official report on the two days, including the future of the forum will be online as soon as it has been made available. In total there were 65 participants attending including 52 official young delegates from 27 EU member states.
The conference ends with the message, 'Together we can make our European roads safe'. The final word went to Isabelle Kardacz Director of DG MOVE. She told delegates, 'To work together, give the European Commission your valuable input and work hard to implement road safety in Europe'.