Proceedings of the 24th World International Traffic Medicine Association Congress, Qatar 2015
  • ISSN: 2223-0440
  • EISSN:


To achieve significant improvements, there is a need for a systematic approach in Road Safety Management. The first step of such approach is to define the burden of road casualties in the country. Part of defining the burden is the monetary valuation of the prevention of a fatality accident. Such “values of statistical life” are derived in a number of countries, however, there is a large variation among these. Interestingly, a negative correlation seems to exist between the monetary valuation of a statistical life and the road safety situation of a country, namely, countries with low “values of statistical life” have poor road safety situation and vice versa. The next step is to get commitment from decision makers. There is an accumulated knowledge among road safety scientist on what strategies and measures are the most efficient, but without commitment from decision makers, these will not will not be realized. A good example to illustrate this is the case of France, when the President of the country “suddenly” became “… absolutely horrified that French roads are the most dangerous in Europe…”, and ordered tough road safety measures resulting in unpreceded improvements in France’s road safety situation. With the commitment of decision makers, a Road Safety Policy can be established. One example for such policy is the Vision Zero in Sweden, whose parliament passed the Road Traffic Safety Bill on Vision Zero in 1997. Another example is the “Sustainable safety” policy in the Netherlands. Another crucial issue is the creation of a responsible body for road safety on the national level. A National Road Safety Committee/Commission should include the relevant departments, and most importantly be chaired by a committed person, respected by all parties. Before jumping to road safety actions and countermeasures, road safety problems should be identified in a systematic way. When presenting the road safety situation for a country or region, often used risk values build on the number of casualties related to some exposure measure. Some of these exposure measures (number of motor vehicles or motor vehicle kilometres) give a wrong depiction of the situation as they neglect the existence of pedestrians and bicyclists who carry the casualty burden of motorised traffic. To be able to make informed decisions on road safety measures based on accident statistics, we need exposure data for all road user types. Access to exposure data allows us to perform the so called 3-dimensional analysis of road safety problems. The dimensions “exposure” (person-kilometres per year), “risk” (number of injury accidents per person-kilometres per year) and “consequence” (number of killed per number of injury accidents per year) help us to get a good picture of the character of the road safety problems. However, even if this kind of approach gives a good tool for knowledge-based road safety work, several problems exist with using only accidents to analyse the road safety situation; the most obvious of them is that many accidents are never reported. The less the injury severity, the lower the reporting grade. The conclusion from this is that we need to combine Police register with Hospital register on traffic injuries. What’s more, to analyse the traffic safety situation, we also should use non-accident based Safety Performance Indicators. With knowledge of the pattern of road safety problems, Road Safety Targets can be formulated. The targets should embrace targets for road user behaviour, road infrastructure, vehicles and rescue services. A road safety vision without quantified targets will not be effective. Only countermeasures with known effectiveness should be applied. There is an accumulated experience of effectiveness of a large number of road safety countermeasures published in the Handbook of Road Safety Measures. Finally, a very important issue – most often neglected after the introduction of a countermeasure - Monitoring of performance. Data on Safety Performance Indicators should be collected continuously and their status should be followed-up yearly and in the event of deviation from the target, relevant measures should bel applied promptly.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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