The area in which has by far the biggest potential for progress in road safety is users’ behaviour - that of both pedestrians and vehicle users.
Driving requiring a driver’s complete concentration. However, as it is a task that is performed regularly, it gradually becomes routine and drivers become confident about their abilities.
Nevertheless, the degree of attention that is required in order to competently and safely operate a motor vehicle means that even small instances of lapsed concentration or complacency can result in significant mishaps. This is why it is important for drivers to be aware of their own limitations, given that 90% of road traffic incidents are down to human error, according to some researchers.
Education and training are key factors in instilling appropriate attitudes and behaviours in road users. The industry fully supports and often leads on campaigns to encourage driver training and road safety.
It is vital that drivers are aware of the dangers of speeding and of the influence of alcohol or drugs on an operator’s ability to control their vehicle.
Habits and technology are also shifting. Drink driving, though on the decline in Europe, is still involved in 25% of accidents despite only accounting for 1% of total mileage covered. Widespread usage of distracting technologies, such as mobile phones, can also raise the chance of a road accident significantly. It is for this reason that several countries have banned the use of mobile phones either in part or completely, and why maximum blood-alcohol levels are being reduced by authorities across Europe.
There are several factors which can decrease the risk of injury on the roads for all vehicle types, and these include:
- More training and more experience,
- Driving behaviour appropriate for the conditions,
- Wearing appropriate safety equipment,
- Not driving, riding or walking whilst under the influence,
- Careful use of vehicle safety equipment (such as seatbelts, child seats etc),
- The wearing of visibility equipment.
The enforcement of existing driving rules is crucial, as about 65% of fatal accidents are caused by the violation of traffic rules. European policy makers need to decide how to apply rules across Europe and to ensure they are complied with.