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  • Writer's pictureKathryn Stagg

EU Leagues Ahead in Road Safety

Evening shot of street in busy Parisian neighborhood
Photo by Adrien Olichon on Unsplash

According to the International Transport Forum, Europe is one of the safest places in the world that you can drive. The results of the 2019 Road Safety Annual Report have the E.U. leading in road safety, while other countries, like the U.S., trail behind.

The past few years have seen the E.U. making a strong commitment to improving road safety by setting themselves a Vision Zero target, which involves the elimination of all deaths and serious injuries on the road. It's an ambitious task, but one that the E.U., to judge by the Road Safety Annual Report, is taking very seriously. Their approach, thus far, has been many-fold and, critically, has involved a great deal of cooperation between different European countries. As Tanya Mohn points out in an article for Forbes about Europe's road safety title:

"One of the reasons the E.U. has remained on top is it doesn't rest on its laurels; it keeps working at it. One of its newest initiatives... is a partnership between 12 countries to share practices, skills and experiences..."

The data on road safety in the E.U. is illuminating, not just in what it says about the state of road safety in Europe, but in what it says about road safety in the rest of the world, too. Discussing the results, Mohn highlights the sharp contrast that exists between the data on road safety in the E.U. and in the U.S., which currently places 33 out of the 40 countries assessed by the International Transport Forum.

"Distracted driving, speeding and infrastructure shortcomings add to the long list of why the United States pales in comparison to many other industrialized nations when it comes to road safety."

It wasn't always this way, notes Mohn. In the 1970s, the U.S. was the leader in road safety, but over the years they have continued to decline in the rankings.

A vital part of road safety is learning to evolve. The driving world of the 70s is vastly different from the world of today, and while, on the surface, safe driving practices may seem fixed regardless of the circumstances, the gains made by the E.U. show that that isn't true. Through trial and error, and through learning by example, we are always finding ways to improve on road safety. Our understanding of what constitutes safe driving has changed and will continue to change. In comparing notes, seeing what works and doesn't work, as the E.U. is doing, we can make the road safer for everyone.

You can check out the original Forbes article by Tanya Mohn here.


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