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22 February 2008

AISCAT: EUROPEAN ROAD SAFETY DATA NEEDS TO BE PROPERLY INTERPRETED

With reference to the recent statements made by the European Transport Safety Council - ETSC, once again AISCAT finds itself having to underline how the simplified and approximate presentation of data and statistical surveys may lead to incorrect information and the circulation of what is all too often misleading news.

It is therefore with some disappointment that Aiscat has to note that a first analysis of the data on which the ETSC report is based significantly lacks homogeneity with the same and with the reference sources which, especially for the traffic values considered, would certainly deserve a more in depth and accurate assessment.

This is even more so unfortunate since the work of ETSC over the years has been highly recognised and AISCAT has been one of its main interlocutors, actively participating in many of the Council’s projects and closely sharing its objectives.

It is by reason of ETSC’s very own acknowledgment of the intrinsic safety of motorways and the better performance of these vis-à-vis other road types, that the lack of any reference to the role played by road users and their behaviour as a key element in the reduction of accident and fatality levels is also underlined.

In this regard, irrefutable evidence is provided by all the work carried out by Italian motorway concessionaires (for example, the work carried out to ensure that speed limits are respected), which has led to marked improvement in the main safety indicators, and particularly the improvement of fatality rates both in terms of absolute values as well as in terms of the ratio between number of fatalities and vehicle traffic flow.
Indeed, as recorded by an ETSC analysis - unfortunately not included in the press collations - between 2001 and 2006 the Italian tolled motorway has shown an approximate 24% reduction in the number of fatalities and a 32% reduction in the fatality rate, and is the only road system in Italy to be perfectly in line with the objective set out in the EU White Paper on Transport to halve the number of fatalities due to road accidents by 2010.

Moreover, pre-final data for 2007 show further and relevant reductions.

These results highlight how Italian tolled motorways have already adopted the principles announced in the safety legislative measure for road infrastructure operations which is currently being examined by the EU Parliament and Council.

AISCAT also believes that European Authorities need to pay real attention and introduce an effective plan of action with regard to driving behaviour issues and the respect of rules; the non-respect of rules essentially underlies all motorway accidents.

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