ETSC shows Ireland’s progress on road safety

ITS Ireland welcomes a new report published by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) which shows that Ireland has made significant progress on road safety over the last decade and is now ranked the sixth safest country out of 27 EU Member states.

A total of 411 fatalities were recorded on Irish roads in 2001 compared to 212 in 2010 which represents a 48% decrease. The ETSC report also shows that road fatalities in Ireland dropped by 11% between 2009 and 2010 and as a result, Ireland has moved up one place in the road safety rankings in the EU. With 47 annual fatalities per million population, Ireland is now ranked the sixth safest country out of the 27 EU Member states. The five countries with better track records than Ireland include Sweden, United Kingdom, Malta, The Netherlands and Germany.

Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) involves the application of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to the transport sector in the interests of safer, more sustainable and more efficient movement of goods and people. ITS provides the toolsets to enable the implementation of policies to reduce carbon emissions, improve road safety, improve transport efficiency and facilitate modal shift towards more sustainable alternatives to private car.

ITS Ireland believes that technology plays a significant role in achieving road safety. The provision of real time traveller information, more effective traffic management, free flow tolling, speed enforcement and real time passenger information are all examples of technology solutions that have contributed to improved safety on Irish Roads and further deployments will continue to significantly contribute to the downward trend.

Sweden who leads Europe in having the lowest road fatality figures is seeing the return on its investment in their Vision Zero initiative, an ethical approach about not accepting that people may die or get seriously injured in road traffic incidents. It is also considering technology-led applications for high risk and novice drivers such as alcohol and curfew locks in addition to distraction warning systems and systems to avoid frontal collisions and single crashes and vehicle systems that will read road signs and road markings and alert the driver in potentially compromising situations.

Current EU initiatives include eCall (the automated reporting of road traffic incidents for more efficient emergency response), borderless vehicle and driver legislation and the standardisation and integration of transport technologies across Member States.

ITS Ireland also believes that new in-vehicle, vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure technologies will present opportunities to make further reductions in the number of road fatalities and serious injuries recorded on Irish Roads. ITS Ireland members look forward to playing their part in the development of new technologies and working with Ireland’s Transport Agencies for the betterment and safety of all road users.