Road Safety News
Road Safety News concern a selection of the most recent developments on road safety in Greece, in Europe and worldwide.
The Civil Engineering School of the National Technical University of Athens was ranked this year 18th in Europe and 50th worldwide among all Civil Engineering Schools. This ranking is produced by the QS Organisation (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022) based on the following criteria: Research, Teaching, Employability, Facilities, Internationalization, Innovation, Engagement and Access. NTUA road safety activities have contributed to this ranking.
The Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport developed the National Road Safety Strategic Plan for the period 2021-2030, with the scientific support of the Department of Transport Planning and Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). The National Road Safety Strategic Plan 2021-2030 exploits state-of-the-art international experience and good practice, adjusted to the Greek reality and contains a set of 44 actions and 200 measures with concrete budget and timeplan addressing the key road safety problems in Greece: speeding and motorcycle traffic; aiming to meet the quantitative targets set for the reduction of the number of fatalities and serious injuries in road crashes by 50% by 2030. Within the current final open consultation process you are welcome to submit your remarks and comments.
The Horizon 2020 research project SHOW (SHared automation Operating models for Worldwide adoption) has recently released the SHOW 4th Newsletter. The Newsletter shares very interesting times for the project, with the first pilot sites progressing with their large-scale trials in public, allowing citizens to experience their automated solutions in public transport.
Τhe European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) together with environmental and road safety organisations, has written to the European Commissioners responsible for Climate Action, Energy, Environment and Transport, calling for recommendations on lower speed limits as a way of tackling dependence on Russian oil, as well as emissions and road deaths. The six organisations say that with the catastrophic invasion of Ukraine, European reliance on Russian oil has become a strategic threat and the current crisis requires bold action.
The European Commission announced the winners of the European sustainable mobility Αwards, where Rethymno (Greece) won the EU Urban Road Safety Award. The jury was impressed by Rethymno’s inclusive approach to road safety, which targets three main pillars: upgrading the public transport system, increasing and encouraging behavioural change through a variety of activities, and the establishment of integrated cooperation with local stakeholders. The awards were presented at a hybrid ceremony in Brussels hosted by Matthew Baldwin, Deputy Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Transport and Mobility.
The Third Meeting of the Road Safety Governmental Committee was held on 31 March at the Hellenic Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. The main priorities of the Government Road Safety Committee are the new National Road Safety Strategic Plan for the period 2021-2030, the new Road Safety Law and the improvements of the Road Traffic Code, the National Road Safety Repository and the National Road Safety Observatory. Participants in the committee were: the Minister of State Akis Skertsos, the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Michalis Papadopoulos, the Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection Eleftherios Oikonomou, the Deputy Minister of Education and Religious Affairs Zeta Makri, the Alternate Minister of Health Mina Gaga, the Alternate Minister of Interior Stelios Petsas, on behalf of the Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister Theodoros Livanios the General Secretary of Digital Governance and Procedures Leonidas Christopoulos and the General Secretary of Transport Giannis Xifaras.
The Road Safety Institute “Panos Mylonas” (RSI) in cooperation with the Hellenic Institute of Transportation Engineers (HITE) presented the Digital Platform DRIVE IN THE MOMENT, on March 21, in the context of the 15th Panhellenic Road Safety Week, March 21-27, 2022. The Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Mr. Costas Karamanlis, who attended the event, referred to the National Plan for Road Safety, which extends to four main axes: Safe Roads – Responsible Drivers – Traffic Education – Fair Rules for All and welcome the initiative of the “Drive in the Moment” program, which aims to raise awareness, especially among young people, about the serious issue of distraction by using a mobile phone while driving.
A Special Road Safety Event attended by the European Road Safety Coordinator, Matthew Baldwin and the Executive Director of the European Transport Safety Council ETSC, Antonio Avenoso, was successfully organized by the member of the European Parliament Elena Kountoura in Athens, on 14 March 2022. The guests presented and analyzed the goals, the challenges and the opportunities for improving road safety in the European Union the following years.
The European Commission aiming to improve road safety and in order to prepare a Revision of the current Directive on driving licences, is opening a call for expressions of interest to participate in a series of workshops on EU rules regarding driving licenses. These three workshops aim to collect stakeholders’ views for the purpose of preparing a possible revision of the Directive on driving licences. Each workshop will tackle a specific element of the EU driving license rules: 1: training, testing and vehicle categories; 2: issuance and mutual recognition of driving licenses; and 3: driving disqualifications and fitness to drive.
The 2021 infographic of NTUA Road Safety Observatory (www.nrso.ntua.gr) highlights one more very intensive and highly fruitful year, despite the pandemic. The nrso scientific team with high dedication, efficiency and expertise continues to grow and excel, being active in 31 innovative research projects, succeeded to publish a record number of 78 scientific papers (28 in peer reviewed journals), and travelled around the world in hundreds of webmeetings (and some in-person meetings) to develop and promote road safety science. This year, besides intensive research in six Horizon 2020 projects and three innovative national research projects, we were also lucky to contribute to the National Road Safety Action Plan 2021-2030. Getting ready for the post-pandemic period, we are more than ever committed to our scientific quest for safer roads everywhere and for all. And of course we are waiting you all in-person at the highly promising 8th Road Safety and Simulation Conference in June in Athens.
The European Commission presented its ‘Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy’ together with an Action Plan of 82 initiatives as a guide for the next four years. This strategy lays the foundation for how the EU transport system can achieve its green and digital transformation and become more resilient to future crises. Traffic safety is a major component of the EU Mobility Strategy. As outlined in the European Green Deal, the result will be a 90% cut in emissions by 2050, delivered by a smart, competitive, safe, accessible and affordable transport system.
Getting into 2022, we continue progressing in our scientific excellence quests with persistence, dedication and passion to promoting evidence-based safe mobility everywhere and for all. The decade targets and programs for safer roads everywhere are well set globally and it is now time to sincerely include traffic safety into the mobility agenda and start implementing vision zero traffic fatalities. We thank you all for the excellent cooperation and we are sending you our very best wishes for Merry Christmas and a Very Lucky New Year, full of personal and professional achievements.
The Horizon 2020 project LEVITATE (Societal Level Impacts of Connected and Automated Vehicles) released a video explaining the LEVITATE Policy Support Tool, which is expected to be an open access, web-based Decision Support System that will allow users to explore the impact assessment, forecasting and backcasting of different CCAM development scenarios in cities.
The Horizon 2020 project i-DREAMS (smart Driver Environment Assesment and Monitoring System) recently released its 4th Newsletter, presenting the main accomplishments of the project, through creative solutions and risk mitigation strategies. The Newsletter presents team’s and participant’s view on the Belgian field trial, seven new technical reports submitted in 2021 and several i-DREAMS dissemination activities.
The Horizon 2020 research project SHOW (SHared automation Operating models for Worldwide adoption) has recently released the SHOW 3rd Newsletter. The Newsletter provides information on latest achievements and upcoming activities of the project. Also, there is an open call for follower sites, which will allow all cities in Europe to endorse and replicate SHOW activities.
European Commission – Supplementing Regulation on vehicles’ intelligent speed assistance systems, November 2021
The European Commission adopted a supplementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2144 of the European Parliament and of the Council by laying down detailed rules concerning the specific test procedures and technical requirements for the type-approval of motor vehicles with regard to their intelligent speed assistance systems and for the type-approval of those systems as separate technical units. The Regulation also includes a list of road speed limit signs used in each Member State.
The European Commission published a breakdown of fatalities in the EU by road user and (other) “main vehicle” involved in the crash. The matrix shows clearly that fatalities overwhelmingly occur in collisions involving cars and trucks, and the need to increase the protection of vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. EU policies are already evolving in this direction with the new mandatory safety measures introduced by the General Safety Regulation focussed on VRUs.
The European Commission published the final figures on road fatalities for 2020, following the publication of the preliminary figures in April 2021. These figures show that an estimated 18.800 people were killed in a road crash last year, an unprecedented annual fall of 17% on 2019, largely due to the effect of the COVID pandemic on mobility; however this fatalities drop being proportionately less than the sharp fall in traffic levels across the EU. The Commission has also published the Country Profiles which provide a detailed statistical analysis of the road safety situation in each country.
The European Commission hosted the annual Excellence in Road Safety Awards on 18 November 2021, recognising the contributions of the European Road Safety Charter‘s community of members towards the common goal of improved road safety across Europe. Fundatia Siguranta Auto Copii (Romania) was the winner for its National Children Care Safety Caravan initiative, Interpolis (the Netherlands) for its hip-hop film and PhoNo app targeting teenagers, Cork County Council (Ireland) for its Road Safety Virtual Reality Education and Fundacion Educatrafic (Spain) for its road safety training and education.
In the framework of three-year twinning program of the European Union Member States “EU Road Safety Exchange“, a delegation from the Hellenic Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport together with representatives of the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) participated in the 2nd two-day study visit that took place in Madrid on 10-11 November 2021. This study visit was hosted by the Directorate for Traffic (DGT) of the competent Ministry of Spain and its topic was powered two wheelers (PTW) safety. The participants heard among others about the Spanish strategic approach to improving the safety of powered two wheelers.
NTUA Professor George Yannis is ranked 2nd most productive European Scientist in Road Safety Research (11th globally and at the top 0.1% of all Scientists in the field), according to recent rankings from Expertscape‘s PubMed-based algorithms for the last 10 years. According to the same rankings, NTUA Road Safety research productivity is ranked 4th in Europe (and within the top 40 Universities globally).
The Hellenic Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport proposed the New Driving Safely Law, which has been recently adopted by the Greek Parliament. The new law reforms the driving examinations’ framework, with the priority of ensuring the integrity of the procedure and the promotion of road safety. Among other things, the new safety net consists of double identity checks, camera recordings during the exams and collection of the audiovisual reports. Also, a temporary driving license is foreseen for young people aged 17 years old, who will be able to drive only within their residence area accompanied with a co-driver of over 25 years old holding a driving license for at least 5 years.
TRAVisions concerns two competitions for transport research awards to be announced in a prestigious award ceremony at the Transport Research Arena Conference (TRA) on 14-17 November 2022 in Lisbon:
- TRAVisions 2022 Young Researcher Competition, is aimed at university and technical institute students pursuing bachelor, master and PhD degrees
- TRAVisions 2022 Senior Researcher Competition, a competition for senior researchers in the field of innovative surface transport concepts based on results only from EU-funded projects
The World Health Oganisation (WHO) opened the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030 in Geneva, with the ambitious target of preventing at least 50% of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030. WHO and the UN Regional Commissions, in cooperation with other partners in the UN Road Safety Collaboration, have developed a Global Plan for the Decade of Action. Road traffic accidents have remained a major cause of death globally, even though every one of those deaths and injuries is preventable. A Global Plan has been developed to support the implementation of the Decade of Action and its objectives.
The 15th European Night Without Crashes was celebrated with great success on 16 October 2021 in most European countries. In Greece, the Road Safety Institute “Panos Mylonas” (RSI), EFTHITA Rhodes, AOLAP, KEDE, Road Traffic Police, OASA and other associations participated and supported the action, in order to raise awareness on the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol, aiming to a world without road fatalities.
The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly for road safety measures to reach zero deaths on EU roads by 2050. The vote was based on the EP Transport and Tourism Committee Report on Recommendations on next steps towards “Vision Zero”, which suggests key priorities and include key measures such as among others: 30km/h city speed limits, Zero-tolerance for drink-driving, the European Road Safety Agency, etc.
The Deputy Ministry of Sport in collaboration with Motorsport Greece, in the framework of EKO Rally Acropolis, organized a Road Safety Event, in Athens, on 8 September. Highlight of the event, was a simulated collision and rescue of an injured person, supervised by NTUA. Specifically, a passenger car performed a free fall from a height of 10 metres, only to hit the ground at a speed of 50 km/h. During the event, two strong road safety messages were displayed: “Always wear a seat belt in the car, wherever you sit” and “We always wear a helmet and protectors on the bike”.
The Road Safety Institute “Panos Mylonas” (RSI), organised the 16th Year Anniversary Event of the Institute, under the auspices of H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), on 9 September. The message of the event was: “With a vision, we grow stronger TOGETHER” and it was attended by a number of personalities, representatives of the country’s leadership, politicians, executives from the Public and Private sector and other important social partners who pledged the commitment to improving Road Safety in Greece.
Eva Michelaraki, NTUA PhD Candidate & Researcher, received the Young Researcher Best Paper on Road Safety Αward 2021 during the International Congress on Transport Research 2021. The Award is granted jointly by the Hellenic Institute of Transportation Engineers (HITE), the Hellenic Institute of Transport (HIT/CERTH), and the Hellenic Association of Toll Road Network (Hellastron). The award concerned the paper entitled: “Modelling the Safety Tolerance Zone: Recommendations from the i-DREAMS project”, co-authored by Christos Katrakazas, Tom Brijs and George Yannis.
The General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) decided that a high‑level meeting on improving global road safety will be held in New York in 2022, right after the Economic and Social Council’s high-level political forum on sustainable development, under the theme of “The 2030 horizon for road safety: securing a decade of action and delivery”. The meeting will adopt a concise, action-oriented political decision to be submitted by the President of the General Assembly for adoption by that organ.