On 21 September this year, the second Project EDWARD (European Day Without A Road Death) took place during the European Mobility Week. The project has encouraged road users to think safety first while driving, walking or cycling. The campaign, launched by the European Traffic Police Network (TISPOL), was widely supported by the European Commission.
According to TISPOL's statistics, on 21 September 2017, there were 43 road deaths across 31 European countries, same as in 2016, when project EDWARD was launched. This compares with 70 fatalities on the same day in 2015. This year 16 countries recorded zero fatalities on 21 September.
Project EDWARD supported the idea that road safety concerns all of us when, on average, 70 people die and a further 370 are seriously injured every day on Europe’s roads. It was an opportunity to encourage all road users to reduce risks while they are driving, walking or cycling, as small changes can make a big difference. EU Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc said: "Project EDWARD sets an extremely ambitious target: to achieve a day without a single death on Europe’s roads. In this second edition of the European Day Without a Road Death, we recorded again a significant improvement compared to 2015. This shows that awareness and education, together with effective enforcement of traffic rules, make our roads a much safer place. When all stakeholders come together we can really make an impact and save lives. Let's continue in this mind."
TISPOL General Secretary Ruth Purdie said: “Our vision for no fatalities was sadly not to be. But it doesn't mean we have failed. We know that it is a huge and long-term challenge for governments, police officers, road safety professionals and partners to ensure the messages we put out are effective. What we need is for more and more people to join us and declare that no one should die on Europe's roads on EDWARD day or any day".
As part of the campaign, private and public entities as well as the civil society were mobilised to contribute by sharing the messages, by making a pledge on TISPOL's website, by recording a video message and by organising road safety activities to be carried out on 21 September or during the European Mobility Week. The Road Safety Day interactive map hosted on the European Commission's website gives visibility to these projects.
Project EDWARD made a great impact on social media too with a Twitter reach of more than 25 million (the 2016 figure was 19.5 million) over a 48 hours period and with more than 8 813 posts. This is phenomenal for any topic, and even more for a road safety event. #ProjectEDWARD trended number one on Twitter in Ireland, number four in the UK and number five in Germany. It also trended in Spain and other countries.
Dangerous behaviour is a major factor in serious road crashes. Changing driver behaviour, especially as regards seat belt use, speeding, distracted-driving and drink-driving would save many lives. Education when combined with enforcement and engineering (vehicles and infrastructure) is the best way to cut the number of people killed or seriously injured.
- Publication date
- 20 October 2017