Road Safety News
Road Safety News concern a selection of the most recent developments on road safety in Greece, in Europe and worldwide.
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 and Road Environment Assessment 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.
The project EDWARD (Every Day Without A Road Death) is organising a Week of Action under the theme: Fit for the Road, on 13-17 September. A number of Road Trips aim to showcase great examples of road planning, design and engineering, the safest vehicles, nationwide efforts to deter dangerous behaviour and advances in emergency post-crash care.
Voi Technology recently published the Voi’s Annual Safety Report with the active contribution of NTUA, under the theme Safer streets with shared micro-mobility, intended to increase transparency and foster a dialogue on how shared micro-mobility can make cities safer. The report covers Voi’s actions to improve road safety, insights on safety risks and opportunities for shared micro-mobility across Europe. Heavy, fast-moving vehicles present the greatest road safety risks, and lack of safe road infrastructure is a significant risk for all lightweight travellers.
The sixth Newsletter of the Horizon 2020 project BeOpen (European forum and observatory for open science in transport) was recently released with all the latest developments and the deliverables of the project. This Newsletter focused on the BeOpen final event, which took place online on June 9, 2021, with presentations and discussions helpful for a better understanding of open science and how the BE OPEN project helped to move the concept forward in the transport domain.
Transport MEPs say that the goal of zero deaths on European roads by 2050 (Vision Zero) calls for more robust measures on road safety, such as, 30 km/h speed limit, zero-tolerance for drink-driving and more safety features in infrastructure and vehicles. Transport MEPs call on the Commission to establish a European road transport agency to support sustainable, safe and smart road transport and to consider the incorporation of a “driving safe mode” for mobile and electronic devices of drivers in order to inhibit distractions while driving.
Greece was awarded with the 2021 Annual Road Safety Award of the European Transport Safety Council for achieving the 2010-2020 target of reducing road fatalities by 50% (performing 54% decrease from 1.258 road fatalities in 2010 to 579 in 2020), making also NTUA proud of its contribution. This significant improvement over the last decade is the result of constantly increasing effort by the Public Authorities and all road safety stakeholders on infrastructure improvements (new motorways, new urban mobility schemes, etc.), legislation (new traffic fines scheme, driving licence, etc.), campaigns and education schemes. As a result, Greek drivers changed significantly their safety behaviour, initially triggered by the economic crisis but maintained also well after, demonstrated in a constantly improving road safety culture of a more mature society. However, even if Greece progressed from 26th to 20th position during the decade, collective efforts should continue as it still lags well behind the EU average.
The 4th Newsletter of the EU funded Horizon 2020 project Levitate (Societal Level Impacts of Connected and Automated Vehicles) was recently released focusing on the results of the latest Levitate Webinar titled “Road safety assessment of automated vehicles“, and on several events and news on Road Safety.
The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), in collaboration with the International Transport Forum (ITF), has launched the FIA Disabled Motoring Website. The FIA Disabled Motoring website provides access to information on facilities and options for people with disabilities travelling by car in different countries around the world. It is based on data collected from FIA Member Clubs and ITF Member States around the globe. The website is also a resource for everyone travelling outside their own country who are unsure about the rules and conditions for disabled drivers.
EFTHITA Rhodes participated very actively in the Sixth UN Global Road Safety Week with several actions promoting speed limits of 30km/h in urban areas. Cyclists’ teams joined the cause and posters for road safety were distributed with the messages #StreetsforLife and #Love30, to raise awareness on how low-speed streets can save lives.
The first meeting of the Road Safety Governmental Committee was held on 9 June 2021 at the Hellenic Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. The Road Safety Governmental Committee holds the administrative accountability of planning, implementing and supervising the National Road Safety Action Plan. In the meeting, there was a presentation of data regarding the basic pillars of the Action Plan, as well as an evaluation of the actions taken towards the Plan’s implementation. Participants in the committee were: the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Yannis Kefalogiannis as chairman, the Deputy Minister of Citizen Protection Eleftherios Oikonomou as vice-chairman, the Alternate Minister of Interior Stelios Petsas, the Alternate Minister of Health Vasilis Kontozamanis, the Deputy Minister of Education and Religious Affairs Zeta Makri and the Deputy Minister of Digital Governance Georgios Georgantas.
The Civil Engineering School of the National Technical University of Athens was ranked 4th globally (2nd in Europe) according to ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects (GRAS) 2021, being the best performance of any Higher Education School in Greece. The GRAS use a range of objective academic indicators and third-party data to measure the performance of world universities in respective subjects, including research output, research influence, international collaboration, research quality, and international academic awards. NTUA road safety activities have contributed to this ranking.