On the 25th of July 2012, young people from all across Europe will gather in Nicosia, Cypus for the Fourth Road Safety Day which has a unique theme of young people's active involvement in road safety. One of the key presentations taking place at the event will focus on Road Safety Performance Index (PIN) report which was published last month. As a preamble to the event, YOURS is getting young people ready and equipped with some of its key pointers relating to its extensive focus on young people and road safety. In this edition, we take a look at the study which illustrates that road safety for young people has improved in Europe in some countries for this demographic group.
On average in the EU27, road safety of young people has improved faster than road safety of the rest of the population since 2001. In Luxembourg, Switzerland and Slovenia, the annual average reduction in road deaths among young people is more t than the for the rest of the population. In Hungary, Greece, Poland, Ireland, Finland and Romania the opposite is true and road safety of other age groups has improved more than than road safety of young people. While in some countries, road safety is not better for young people than other groups (i.e road safety is better for older groups in some countries) a promising trend illustrating that for many countries, road crashes has been significantly reduced shows that concerted road safety efforts are coming to fruition across Europe.
Some key explanations from country perspectives have stated:
“Road safety of young people has improved faster in Portugal than road safety of the rest of the population since 2001. This is quite logical as young drivers benefited most from overall road safety improvements implemented over this period, in particular infrastructure safety improvement schemes. Young drivers also seem to have been more receptive to recent road safety awareness campaigns than older drivers”. - João Cardoso, LNEC, Portugal.
“We are concerned by the high number of young people killed per million young inhabitants in Belgium. This is why we recently conducted a new research on young drivers. As in other countries, collisions involving young people often combine aggravating factors such as driving at night or at weekends, carrying passengers, loss of control and drink driving. Findings from the EU project DRUID revealed that Belgian car drivers are among those who drive more under the influence of alcohol in Europe. Drink driving is particularly dangerous for youngsters. This is why volunteers are touring nightclubs and music festivals all year round to raise awareness among young drivers of the risk they pose to themselves and others if they speed, drink or take drugs before taking the wheel”. - Yvan Casteels, Belgian Road Safety Institute.
However, as country situations differ vastly across Europe, with different approaches and programs, there is lots more work required to improve road safety for young people across many countries. While road safety for young people has improved vastly across Europe many countries appreciate the much more work is required. Some country profiles explain:
“In Hungary, young drivers are not yet subjected to probational period, nor graduateddriving licensing. We need to explore those solutions to avoid young people being left outof our recent progress in improving overall road safety”. - Peter Holló, Institute for Transport Science, Hungary.
“Our adverse performance is really disappointing. Many collisions involving young people take place at night on isolated rural roads which makes enforcement difficult. The Police have to set targets for enforcement action targeting young people’s high risks, speeding, drink driving, and non use of seat belts. In-depth analysis showed that more than half of the drivers aged 15 to 30 who caused a fatal road accident had been caught by the police at least once during the last five years before the accident. Those young people ‘at risk’ should be identified and offered additional training in order to prevent them from engaging in risky behavior in the future”. - Esa Räty, Finnish Motor Insurance Center.
“The Road Safety Authority has an ongoing research programme looking at the psychology of risky driving behaviour of young people which continues to inform our interventions. We might consider the introduction of a Hazard Perception Test, the introduction of R Plates for novice drivers, faster accumulation of penalty points for specified driving offences, and the enhancement of the role of the accompanying driver in the learning to drive phase”. - Michael Rowland, Road Safety Authority, Ireland.
What is quite promising is the fact that since 2001, road crashes amongst young people has decreased. PIN estimate that this reduction has benefitted Europe exponentially. In a cost benefit analysis, PIN have estimated there have been 45,500 fewer road deaths among young people aged 15-30 since the adoption of the EU target in 2001 than if the 2001 numbers had continued. The total benefit to society from the reductions in road deaths among young people in the EU over the year 2002-2010 compared with
2001 is valued at approximately 78 billion Euro.
The EU has adopted a new target of a further 50% reduction in road deaths. If a 50% reduction in young people deaths from their number in 2010 were achieved in 2020 by equal annual percentage reduction, 29,500 young people’s deaths would be avoided over the years 2011-2020 compared with 2010. The benefit to society from these further reductions is valued at about 57 billion Euro at 2009 prices.
While much of the benefit here is measured in money saved, we know as young people that lives saved in human terms results in the saving of lives of our families, our peers, our friends, our loved ones and will reduce the emotional, psychologic and economic carnage inflicted by road crashes.
While we strive towards these goals in our road safety efforts, we must keep in mind that road crashes amongst young people is still disproptionately represented, in other words, young people are still the most effected group when it comes to road crashes. PIN states: Young people aged 15 to 30 represent 20% of the total EU population but 30% of all road deathsand this share has been reduced since 2001 by only about 4 percentage points. Overrepresentation differs between countries and between the age group 15-17, 18-24 and 25-30 and is concentrated in the 18-24 age group.
How was this data collected?
The annual average percentage reduction in the number of road deaths among young people aged 15 to 30 inclusive between 2001 and 2010 is used as main indicator in this PIN ranking. The data were retrieved from CARE when available and completed or updated by the PIN Panellists. The full dataset is available in the Annexes. Information on driving licensing as provided by the PIN Panellist are available on www.etsc.eu/PIN-publications.php. No data was received from Bulgaria. For Lithuania the data do not match the age groups used in this report. The number of young people killed in traffic is available only since 2007 in Malta and Slovakia, making the series too short for estimating the annual average percentage reduction. Population figures were retrieved from the Eurostat database.
You can read the report in more detail in the attachments.