The still worrying number of EU road fatalities and the progress needed in reaching the EU’s objective to halve road deaths by 2020 have resulted in an initiative known as EDWARD, taking place today, 21st September 2017.
EDWARD means European Day Without A Road Death, the aim of the day is that no one should lose their lives on the road. The initiative, promoted by TISPOL, the traffic police network of Europe, is an opportunity to think about the risks that road users create for themselves, their families and other road users as motorists, passengers, cyclists, pedestrians for either leisure or work purposes. TISPOL is committed to reducing death, serious injury and crime on Europe's roads.
According to TISPOL, for the first few years of this decade, countries across the EU have been highly successful in pursuing the 2020 50% reduction target. But the arrival of a second successive year of disappointing news shows that this downward trend has stagnated.
Project EDWARD is an initiative trying to impact on efforts and encourage all road users to reflect on their behaviour and attitude. Drivers are unwittingly or sometimes knowingly putting other road users in many ways, perhaps by speeding, drink-driving, not wearing a seat belt, using the phone while driving, using vehicles they have not kept roadworthy, parking their cars on bicycle lanes, blocking pedestrian crossings, not turning on their lights or engaging in risky manoeuvres.
But it’s not just drivers who are at fault. Many cyclists and pedestrians increase their risk levels by choosing to ignore the rules or look for risky short cuts. The idea is to push all road users to think – even for a few minutes – about the risks they face, the risks they may pose to others and how they can go about reducing them.
Making the pledge promoted by EDWARD is also a way to help sensitizing on the issue, an apparently small action that can lead to big improvements. Here is the pledge promoted by the initiative you can take yourself:
- Remind my family, friends and colleagues to take extra care on the roads.
- Put my lights on for safety.
- Drive as safely as I can and follow the rules when behind the wheel or riding a motorbike or bicycle.
- Be extra vigilant and attentive to the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, children, older people and horse riders.
- Drive at speeds that are both legal and safe.
- Carry out proper safety checks on my tyres.
- Pay particular attention when driving near schools, and where there are lots of children.
- Never drive after drinking alcohol or taking drugs/medicines that could impair safety.
- Look as far ahead as possible and not tailgate other drivers
- Always wear my seat belt and ensure that everyone with me wears theirs.
- Not use my mobile phone while driving.
- Ensuring I am not distracted by anything inside or outside the car, or inside my head.
- Set a good example to my passengers by driving calmly and safely.
This initiative could be a good opportunity to emphasize on risks on the road within your fleet - do not miss it.