Europe Fails to Cut the Number of Road Deaths - Kerr Brown Solicitors Blog & News
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Europe Fails to Cut the Number of Road Deaths

Countries across Europe are failing to reduce the number of people dying in road traffic accidents, the European Transport Safety Council has said. One possible reason put forward to explain this failure is a fall in the level of police enforcement on our roads.

The latest figures from the ETSC show that over 26,000 people died in road traffic accidents in 2015, and these figures represent the first increase since 2001. Research shows that driving too fast, drink driving, distracted driving and not wearing a seat belt continue to be the main causes of death and serious injury on the roads.

TISPOL, the European Traffic Police Network, which is reporting the ETSC research, says that analysis by ETSC also revealed a reduction in the number of driving tickets issued by police over the past five years for using a mobile phone while driving. TISPOL says that this is indicative of a fall in the level of police enforcement.

“Cuts to police enforcement are doubly damaging,” explained Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of the European Transport Safety Council. “Fewer dangerous drivers are caught, and overall perception of the risk of being caught also decreases. While there is increasing pressure to reprioritise policing budgets across Europe, it makes no sense to cut back on road safety. 26,000 are still dying each year on our roads, and the numbers will not start to decrease again without concerted action.”

Road safety organisation, Brake, has echoed these calls for more to be done to improve road safety. It refers in particular to new research from the University of Sussex, which found that talking on a hands-free phone can be just as distracting as talking on a hand-held mobile. Brake is therefore renewing its calls for the Government to look again at the laws around driving and mobile phone use.

The study is the latest to look at the increased dangers facing drivers who using a mobile phone while behind the wheel. Previous studies have already suggested that as many as 22% of road traffic accidents are the result of drivers being distracted in some way, and that drivers who are involved in secondary tasks while driving, such as using a phone, are around three times more likely to crash.

“Distracted driving is a major cause behind road crashes; pulling the drivers’ attention away from the road and its potential hazards, potentially leading to fatal outcomes,” said Lucy Amos, research adviser for Brake. “This new study is only the latest of many which adds weight to extending the existing legislation to cover all mobile phone use within a vehicle, not just the use of hand-held mobile devices.”

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