600 Child lives could be saved on EU roads


Press release ETSC / Road Safety Performance Index (PIN) Programme

CSAP road safety findings presented at ETSC Brussels event

PIN Launch

Brussels – At the recent European Transport Safety Council at their quarterly PIN launch, Morag MacKay, Programme Manager for European Child Safety Alliance, gave a presentation titled 'Action on Child Road Safety Across Europe' that provided highlights of the 2007 Child Safety Report Card findings of the Alliance. In 2007 alone, road collisions caused over 1200 deaths to children in the EU 27, and it is estimated that at least 600 of these deaths could have been prevented if all EU countries adopted the basic safety measures practiced in the best performing countries.

PIN, a road safety performance index, is a new policy instrument developed by the ETSC which helps EU member states to improve road safety. Media coverage of the event included press from Germany, Austria, Italy, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Ireland and Slovenia. Morag MacKay also sat on the panel of experts to field further questions from audience members.

The latest findings of PIN demonstrate that initiatives for road safety are showing positive results. Morag MacKay said at the event "it was good to have the child road safety issues highlighted. Children are not small adults and their needs are unique and need to be addressed as a specific focus within broader road safety strategies. We applaud the European Transport Safety Council on making children a focus of this edition of the Flash and look forward to working with them in the future to address issues such as keeping children in rear facing child passenger restraints longer".

Some 18,500 children have been killed in road collisions over the past ten years in the EU-27, around 1,200 of them in 2007 alone. At least half of those deaths, 600, could have been avoided, had the level of child road safety been the same across Europe as in Sweden. These and other results from the latest ETSC PIN country ranking on child road safety have been released today. In the past EU legislation, including the Directive on seat belts and child safety restraints has played a key role in improving child safety. New measures such as the 'Intelligent Transport Systems' Action Plan may further contribute.

Road safety of children has improved considerably in all 30 countries covered by PIN over the past decade. Portugal achieved the best annual average reduction in child road mortality of 15%. France, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ireland and Belgium also rank highly with reductions close to 10%. Lithuania, Sweden, Germany, Norway, Slovakia, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands follow with better than average reductions. However, Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Czech Republic, Greece and Romania performed poorly with average annual reductions of less than 5%.

As a result of this uneven rate of improvement, disparities between countries remain strikingly high: children in Lithuania have a 7 times higher probability of being killed in road traffic than children in Sweden, the best performing country in terms of road mortality of children. Another comparison shows that, while on average in the EU every tenth child death after the first birthday results from a road collision, this share varies from 5% in Norway and Sweden, to almost 20% in Luxembourg and Slovenia.

Still European children fare better than the rest of the EU population. There are 16 road-related child deaths per million inhabitants, compared to 95 for the rest of the population. Also the annual average reduction in child road mortality in the EU-27 over the past decade was 7%, compared to 4.3% for the rest of the population. However, in Italy, Greece and Hungary, the opposite is true and road safety of the population aged 15 and above has improved faster than road safety of children.

'Yet child casualties have been going down not only because of improved safety but also due to reduced exposure to risk as they are driven to school and spend less time out on the streets playing. Cycling and walking should instead be promoted, but it should be made safe,' said Ellen Townsend, ETSC Policy Director. "In our Blueprint for the EU's 4th Road Safety Action Programme, we've proposed a separate 60% reduction target for child road deaths in the EU between 2010 and 2020."

"It is estimated that every euro spent on a child safety seat saves around €30 on health care costs," said Morag MacKay, Programme Manager, European Child Safety Alliance. "Our research shows that child restraint prices range greatly across Europe. We therefore urge Member States to apply the lowered VAT rate. Lower prices could increase affordability of child restraint equipment and reduce the use of second hand and old design seats."

Actual Flash (name of PIN publication) available for download

ETSC Press release (PDF 144kb)

Source and information (PIN Programme Manager / ETSC Communication Officer)

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