European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc announced the six winners of the Excellence in Road Safety Awards 2019 at a ceremony at the prestigious Vaudeville Theatre in Brussels today. Every year several initiatives of the European Road Safety Charter are rewarded for their contribution to safer roads across Europe.
Awards went this year to
- Interpolis (the Netherlands) for its AutoModus app,
- Inoutcister (Portugal) for its drink driving prevention programme,
- City Council of Silly (Belgium) for its Road Safety Observatory, and
- ACEM (Europe) for its European Motorcycle Training Quality Label;
In the category “School Challenge”, the awards went to
- Tompa Laszlo Primary School (Romania) for its ‘Be smart when in traffic’ campaign, and
- Fundación MAPFRE (Spain) for its road safety education programme.
The winner of the special prize, awarded every year since 2016 in the name of Jacques Barrot, former Commissioner for Transport, was selected by the audience of the ceremony from among the six winners, and went to : Interpolis (Netherlands) for its Automodus app.
Previous winners of the Jacques Barrot Prize were: Lockerbie Academy from the United Kingdom (2016), the Romanian Automobile Club (2017), VOZIM from Slovenia (2018).
This year, those present also had the opportunity to select the winner of the Grand Prix Jacques Barrot, chosen from the four winners of the Jacques Barrot Prize 2016-10 and the winner was 'Heroes drive in pyjamas' from Zavod VOZIM.
Violeta Bulc said: "Road safety is our common concern and priority. All of you are role models in your local communities, but also now acknowledged on the European scene. I wish to thank you wholeheartedly for your contribution to the improvement of the road safety culture in Europe. You are making a real difference in your community and you are inspiring others to do the same.”
While road fatalities in the EU have more than halved since 2001, more than 25 000 people still die on EU roads every year, and 135 000 people are seriously injured. The European Commission and EU Member States therefore committed to a target of reducing fatalities and serious injuries on the roads by 50% between 2020 and 2030, aiming for “Vision Zero”, no fatalities and serious injuries on EU roads, by 2050. This commitment is translated into policy in the EU Commission’s Road Safety Policy Framework 2021-2030.
This year also marked the 15th anniversary of the European Road Safety Charter, initiated in 2004 by the European Commission, is the largest civil society platform on road safety. More than 3 500 public and private entities (companies of all types and sizes, automobile clubs, associations, schools and local authorities) have committed to the Charter. The Charter invites members to make a commitment, pledging to take a specific measurable action within their area of responsibilities. Since 2006, the yearly Charter Award for excellence in road safety has been presented to one or several organisations that have carried out a particularly interesting and effective road safety initiative.
Winners of the Excellence in Road Safety Awards 2019
AutoModus app (The Netherlands): The project, developed and led by the insurance company Interpolis, addresses distraction at the wheel, and in particular the use of mobile phones while driving. Distracted driving is a major risk factor in traffic: the risk of being involved in a crash increases by 12 times when dialling and 6 times when texting. The AutoModus app helps drivers not to use their phone while on the roads: it continues to help navigate, but blocks all incoming and outgoing calls, as well as texting. The app also rewards phone-free driving in the form of points exchangeable for gifts, and gives feedback on driving behaviour. An accompanying awareness campaign on the safe use of smartphones has increased the impact of the project and created partnerships with road safety experts and stakeholders.
The initiative has been rewarded for successfully addressing the growing problem of distraction in traffic. The combination of an innovative technological solution with an awareness campaign and strong partnership has increased the likelihood of success in changing road users’ behaviour and has successfully contributed to mobile-free driving in the Netherlands.
Drink driving awareness campaign (Portugal): The project was developed by Inoutcister, a company specialised in traffic psychology, and covers a set of activities that aim to raise awareness among young drivers about the dangers of alcohol at the wheel. These activities include briefing of students by volunteers at social events on the dangers of drink driving; and encouragement of self-testing of alcohol consumption with breathalysers. Excessive alcohol consumption continues to be a reality among young people in Portugal leading to impaired driving and a number of serious crashes. The project encourages students to adopt safe behaviour towards alcohol consumption and create awareness about the dangers of driving under the influence. The action also enabled the organisers to collect data on alcohol consumption among youngsters.
The campaign succeeded in in raising awareness and inducing lasting change of behaviour. The project also provided useful information on road safety behaviour: 66.7% of participants became more careful about alcohol consumption when planning to drive, or simply chose between drinking and driving. The involvement of a number of many professional partners also contributed to the success of this nation-wide campaign.
Road Safety Observatory of the City Council of Silly (Belgium): The town of Silly in Belgium established a local Road Safety Observatory to address some of the most pressing issues on its roads (speeding, treatment of high risk zones, effective enforcement of traffic rules, safety of vulnerable road users, etc.). The observatory was founded 20 years ago and meets at least four times a year. It is made up of 12 members, including experts, municipal councillors, policemen, communal staff and neighbourhood representatives. The members initiate preventive measures, analyse requests received from residents and look for local solutions to local problems.
The initiative is a good example on how city councils can work with local citizens to improve road safety in an effective and sustainable way. The initiative will be a useful source of inspiration to other towns and cities who are looking for a participative structure that brings together many different actors to solve local road safety issues.
European Motorcycle Training Quality Label (European): The German Road Safety Council, the European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (ACEM), and the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM), have developed together a voluntary certification scheme for post-licence safety training that helps motorcyclists more easily identify the best safety training programmes in their countries. The Label was launched in 2016 and is an ongoing initiative that aims to establish a brand stamp for high-quality, post-licence training across the EU. It is open to any organisation based in Europe willing to submit its training programmes for evaluation, such as schools for motorcycle riders, manufacturers and public bodies. The Label is granted for a period of 4 years and can be renewed.
The initiative is a practical and sustainable way of addressing the safety of motorcyclists, one of the most vulnerable groups of road users. In 2017, motorcyclists represented 15% of all fatalities, and 30% of young people. Voluntary post-licence training allows riders to upgrade their skills, enhance their risk perception and increase their safety awareness. The European Motorcycle Training Quality Label is a good example of a voluntary commitment at European scale, involving several influential partners. The initiative is also in line with European Commission calls for voluntary commitments from bigger stakeholders that reduce the need for legislation but at the same time contribute significantly to the EU’s medium and long-term objectives in terms of road safety.
In the category School Challenge:
'Be smart when in traffic' (Romania): The Tompa Laszlo Primary School in Romania has 20 years’ experience in educating children to behave safely and smartly in different traffic situations. The focus of activities is on learning traffic rules on both on the roads and on pavements. Since 2000, the school has organised different courses and road safety related competitions. Classes are given in collaboration with local police officers. Other activities include afterschool lessons, and targeted road safety days, as well as theoretical tests and practical lessons, such as biking classes.
The project has had a significant impact despite limited resources, covering different kinds of activities related to the safety of children in traffic (walking, cycling, and interacting with other road users). The project is based on voluntary participation by children with the police to encourage independent and responsible behaviour stemming from better understanding of the importance of traffic rules and their enforcement.
Road safety education programme (Spain): Fundación MAPFRE has developed an international road safety programme targeting mostly Spanish speaking countries, including 17 different countries in Latin America. Theory lessons for children are combined with prevention workshops for all ages with a particular focus on young and elderly road users. The project developed comprehensive learning materials, ranging from children’s books to PowerPoint presentations, which are freely available on its website. The objective of the programme is two-fold: to increase knowledge on safe road use promoting in parallel a healthy lifestyle; and to educate not just children in the classroom but also their families at home on the importance of unintentional injury prevention.
It is a very comprehensive educational programme, covering all aspects of road safety education of children. Fundación MAPFRE has made significant efforts in developing its learning materials, including not only on-line material but also about 12 million print copies of road safety and accident prevention stories, activity books and teachers' guides. Special emphasis has also been placed on the training of trainers: training courses for educational professionals have been developed in coordination with universities. Finally, the programme is a model of how to adapt materials and resources to different needs, taking into account local circumstances and local challenges.
European Road Safety Charter:
Commission's road safety work:
Follow us on Twitter: