European countries should set a target of upgrading all roads to  3-star or better with a 4-star minimum target on roads with high traffic volume, according to the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC).

The recommendation is made in a newly released ETSC Performance Index report entitled ‘Reducing Deaths in Single Vehicle Collisions’.  The report also urges the 28 EU members states (plus Israel, Norway,  Serbia and Switzerland) to complete EuroRAP or Network Safety Management assessments of their rural road networks and to regularly review the findings for possible action.

The report states that: ‘All new road projects should be submitted to a road safety audit to assess the performance of the road, including from the perspective of vulnerable road users.’

The report says that although the number of deaths in single vehicle collisions (SVCs) has fallen by 43% between 2005-2014 it has been decreasing at a slightly slower pace than deaths in multi-motor-vehicle collisions.

In the EU, 68% of all SVC deaths are car occupants with most crashes happening on rural roads. Young drivers and riders are at a greater risk of becoming involved in an SVC than any other road user age group.  SVC fatality rates vary widely across Europe: in Greece there are 34 deaths per million against an EU average of 15 per million.

The report highlights the Netherland’s success in reducing SVCs by 3% per year faster than multi-motor vehicle collisions following improvements in roadside infrastructure. It points out that the Dutch Government has committed to upgrade all 2-star roads on their national network to 3-star by 2020.

As well as advocating the adoption of EuroRAP protocols, the report makes a number of specific recommendations including:

  • Implementing the Infrastructure Safety Management Directive 2008/96 on all kinds of roads
  • Either eliminating removable obstacles from the roadside or protecting them with well-designed barriers
  • Installing barriers friendly to powered two wheelers in areas susceptible to motorcycle collisions

EuroRAP partners Stelios Efstathiadis and Lucia Pennisi acted as observers during the report’s compilation.