Skip to main content
European Commission logo
Mobility & Transport - Road Safety







Foster commitment at the highest levels of government

Sustained government commitment at the highest level is essential for improving road safety. To secure this, road safety managers not only need to develop evidence-based road safety programmes but need to advocate strategies that reflect an understanding of political constraints such as the electoral cycle.

Significant effort needs to be directed at informing the public about the Safe System approach.

Public consultation should be comprehensive and should precede final political consideration of new policies.

Road safety practitioners and stakeholders have a responsibility to influence the political process of policy assessment through: competent and persistent advocacy of programmes within government, provision of annual estimates of the socio-economic costs of road trauma and development of an extensive armoury of effective road safety interventions.

The road safety 'promotion' function has, traditionally, comprised Government-backed publicity campaigns aimed at road users to create awareness of road safety problems and to influence attitudes. Road safety promotion today has a much broader role within the road safety management system. It aims to create a supportive climate for achieving results and implementing effective intervention by all those with responsibilities for traffic system safety, across many sectors of Government and society. It promotes the need for results, the means by which they can be achieved and the core business responsibilities of the key stakeholders at a high level [5].

In good practice, the 'promotion' function is addressed by the following:

  • Promoting a far-reaching road safety vision
  • Championing and promotion at a high level
  • Multi-sectoral promotion of effective intervention and shared responsibility
  • Leading by example with in-house road safety policies - see Work-related Road Safety text for further information
  • Developing and supporting safety rating programmes - see Safety Ratings text for further information
  • Carrying out national advertising
  • Encouraging promotion at local level [5].

High-level Ministerial promotion in several EU countries[5].

In several countries Government Ministers have engaged in road safety promotion at the highest level. For example, the President of France cited road safety as one of the main national priorities for his term of office and established high level committees to oversee developments. The Prime Minister of Britain launched the country's current national road safety strategy and targets and the promotion of anti-drink driving by a high-profile Transport Minister in the 1980s contributed to a hardening of public attitudes to excess alcohol and calls for further measures. Swedish Ministers engaged fully in the promotion of the Vision Zero road safety concept and in Britain, the promotion of anti-drink driving by a high-profile Transport Minister contributed to a hardening of public attitudes to excess alcohol and calls for further measures. In Poland, a leading academic in road safety became a Transport Minister and, in his term, introduced a major new national road safety strategy.

The role of representatives of independent research organisations, the non governmental sector and Parliament is vital in high-level championing where government is seen to be slow to act.