European Road Safety Charter seeks to halve road fatalities by 2030
The European Road Safety Charter is targeting a 50 per cent reduction in road deaths and serious injuries by 2030. The Charter is open to both individuals and organisations, with the Road Safety Authority calling for Irish people and organisations to sign up to its goals.
The European Road Safety Charter consists of roughly 3,500 members, including companies, associations, local authorities, research institutions, universities, and schools. In order to reach each of the European Union’s 27 member states, the European Commission has appointed a national relay in each; the Road Safety Authority (RSA) acts as Ireland’s national relay.
In this role, the RSA is required to promote the Charter and to increase memberships and commitments within Ireland. It is also expected to promote “knowledge sharing of road safety initiatives and the exchange of good practices among signatories in Ireland, urging both civil society and institutions to adopt effective measures that improve road safety”.
Upon the launch of its European Road Safety Charter campaign, RSA Chief Executive Sam Waide said: “By signing the charter, you are pledging yourself or your organisation to take action to meet EU target of decreasing road deaths and serious injuries by 50 per cent by the year 2030.”
With regard to the European context, Ireland is performing relatively well in terms of road fatalities. European Commission data for 2021, the last year for which EU-wide data is currently available, shows Ireland to be fourth in the European Union for road fatalities per million inhabitants. Ireland’s rate of 27 ranks only behind Malta (17), Sweden (20), and Denmark (22). The highest levels of road fatalities per million inhabitants were seen in Romania (92), Bulgaria (81), and Latvia (78).
However, provisional road collision figures released by the RSA in January 2023, covering all of 2022, brought with them news that both the number of fatal road collisions and the number of road fatalities had increased. Road fatalities had risen from 137 to 155, an increase of 13.1 per cent, and fatal road collisions had risen from 124 to 149, an increase of 20.2 per cent.
The European Road Safety Charter’s aim of reducing road deaths by 50 per cent by 2030 is also contained within the Irish Government’s fifth Road Safety Strategy, which covers to period 2021-2030; the 50 per cent reduction is seen as the key first step in the Vision Zero strategy, which aims for the eradication of road fatalities by 2050. For Ireland to remain on track to achieve these goals and the Phase 1 interim targets set out in the Road Safety Strategy, road deaths need to reduce to 122 or fewer by the end of 2024.