Current Affairs
European Commission targets reducing number of road deaths in EU

For many years, the rate of traffic and fatal road accidents in the EU has always been registering an increase. The same can be said for fatal road accidents in Malta.

In 2017, the European Commission said that the number of fatal accidents and serious injuries were causing too much human suffering and unacceptable economic costs.  According to Eurostat, in 2016, 25,600 people lost their lives in traffic accidents on EU roads and 1.4 million people had been injured.

In March of this year, the Commission came to an agreement on new rules for the EU in order to save lives. The new mandatory safety measures include:

For cars, vans, trucks and buses:  warnings about driving when the person is tired and distracted (for example when the driver uses a Smartphone while driving) the introduction of a system of speed intelligence assistance, safety while reversing through the use of a camera or sensors, and the recording of data in the case of an accident (black box).

For cars and vans: a system of assistance so that the vehicle stays on the correct lane, advanced emergency brakes and improved seat belts which have been through rigorous accident testing.

For trucks and buses:  specific requisites to improve the bus and truck driver’s direct line of vision and to remove black spots, as well as provide systems on the front and the sides of the vehicle to detect and warn the driver of vulnerable spots, especially when there are curves in the road.

Where Malta is considered, in research carried out by the National Office of Statistics, it emerged that in 2018, there was a reduction in the rates of traffic accidents. Although this reduction is not substantial, over the first three months of the year, the NSO found that traffic accidents once again began to increase at a rate of 8.4% over the same period last year.

It appears that although initiatives are being taken to increase security on our roads, Malta is still behind in this sector. For the number of traffic accidents to decrease, it does not only depend on these measures by authorities.

It is important that one stresses the fact that each and every one of us needs to be more careful to follow road regulations. With a bit more attention by all those who use the roads in Malta, both drivers and non-drivers, many accidents can be avoided.

The European Commission had said that its targets are to reduce the number of roads in the EU by half, by the end of 2020.

More about the NSO research can be found here.

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