Road safety excellence is possible
The European Road Safety Charter recognizes the good practices of its members
As part of the activities we organize in our role as Spanish National Liaison for the European Road Safety Charter, we have held the Road Safety Excellence Awards conference to discuss best practices with some members of the Charter, as well as the recognition that this organization offers through these awards.
“It is difficult to quantify how much the European Charter has contributed to road safety”, declared Jesús Monclús, director of Fundación MAPFRE’s Accident Prevention and Road Safety Area, as he spoke at the opening of the meeting, recalling how much progress has been made since the initiative was presented in 2004 in Dublin.
But what we can quantify is the number of companies and organizations that have joined this initiative since its inception. Spain has the largest number of signatories, no less than 1,072 are Spanish, and there are now more than 4,000 members, including public and private entities.
The essential role of European road safety
The European Road Safety Charter was designed to mobilize civil society around this issue, as Pere Navarro, Director General of Traffic (DGT), pointed out in his speech, highlighting the important role of road accident victims’ associations.
But the event also highlighted the important role that the Charter plays in recognizing the good practices and success stories of its members and which, each year, are reflected in the Road Safety Excellence Awards. The deadline for submitting applications for the 2023 edition is currently open (until May 26) and the winners will be announced in Brussels on October 19.
In her keynote speech, Isabel Verwee, Knowledge Group Manager at Vias Institute highlighted the role of the national liaisons working in each of the 27 countries. “They are familiar with the national context. They know which stakeholders are involved. Their objective is simply to promote the Charter and encourage new associations to join, because together we will achieve better results”, she remarked during her address.
An accident prevention tsunami
The event brought together winners and finalists of these awards to share their experiences, best practices and success stories.
AESLEME, the Spanish Association for the Study of Spinal Cord Injury, signatories of the Charter since 2005 and finalists in 2021, participated on behalf of road accident victims’ associations. Also present were other committed organizations, including the Spanish Foundation for Road Safety (FESVIAL) and the Asturian Institute for the Prevention of Occupational Risks, which is one of the few prevention institutes that have signed the Charter.
The Local Police from Alcobendas, present at the meeting, defined itself as “safety makers” in a municipality where, due to its particular characteristics, about 70 thousand people travel to work every day, involving over 500 thousand daily movements.
Outstanding road safety companies
The event was also attended by a number of European Charter member companies, including ACCIONA Energía, which received the 2022 Excellence Award for Professional Drivers for its Drive Safe program. And another example of good practices that we were able to share is the work carried out by the Road Safety Center of Autopistas Abertis to combat child traffic accidents, in collaboration with Unicef.
But we were not only able to learn about the initiatives of large companies. Small businesses also have a place in the Charter. This is the case of Educatrafic, which in 2021 won the award in the Schools and Universities category with the initiative ‘Training for personal mobility vehicles’, a practical program on how to use electric scooters aimed at users aged 16 and over, who do not yet have a driving license and do not necessarily understand traffic signs or applicable regulations.
Another example is Netun Solutions, creators of the V16 beacon, an example of how technology developed in Spain can mark a turning point in road safety.
And we were also able to learn about the experience of AECA-ITV which, with its campaign “Si no pasas, pásala” (meaning if you care, make sure you get your vehicle inspected), aims to encourage all cars to pass their Technical Vehicle Inspection.
If we all work together, we will be able to achieve the European objectives and the challenges that Spain has set for itself in its Strategy 2030, as well as hit the goal of Vision Zero by the year 2050.