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UNECE warns that South-Eastern Europe risks missing its road safety target


Despite encouraging results in reaching road traffic casualty reduction targets in some parts of Europe (e.g. France, Germany and the Netherlands), South-Eastern Europe is lagging behind. European Union countries have agreed to halve the number of fatalities between 2001 and 2010, and International Transport Forum Member States have committed to a 50% reduction by 2012 compared with 2000. But countries such as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Moldova, Romania and Turkey have seen an increase in the number of casualties between 2000 and 2008.  In Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia the numbers have stayed roughly the same (source: UNECE and WHO).

A regional road safety conference organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in Halkida, Greece, on 25-26 June 2009, will examine the road traffic safety situation in South-Eastern Europe. Representatives from all the countries in the region will discuss the global and European road safety contexts, report on national progress and share best practices.

This event is part of a series of United Nations regional commissions’ workshops to promote the setting and implementation of regional and national road traffic casualty reduction targets, the idea being that specific targets can help focus and motivate action.

“Road traffic casualties can be prevented with the political will to commit to specific targets and implement the necessary regulatory framework,” said Eva Molnar, Director of the UNECE Transport Division. “With the heavy social, economic and financial burden that road traffic crashes represent, the question is whether countries can afford not to do so.”

Countries which enforce the road traffic safety “basics” – the wearing of seatbelts and helmets, moderate speeds, limited permissible alcohol levels, etc. – all see a dramatic reduction in the number of people injured and killed.

To improve road safety effectively, three key facets must be addressed: infrastructure, vehicle and the human aspect. UNECE’s work on road safety covers all three aspects, including:

All of the above are applied in more than 45 countries, including the European Union, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Tunisia

 The Conference is hosted by the Evia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Hellenic Chambers Transport Association, with the support of the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Greece.

For more information about the conference in Greece or on UNECE road safety work, please visit http://www.unece.org/trans/main/welcwp1.html.

Number of persons killed in road traffic crashes 2000 2001 2005 2008
Albania 280 297 307 499
Bosnia and Herzegovina 302 254 .. 428
Bulgaria 1 012 1 011 957 1006
Croatia 655 647 597 619
Cyprus 111 98 102 89
France 7 643 7 720 5 318 4620
Germany 7 503 6 977 5 361 4949
Greece 2 037 1 880 .. 1657
Hungary 1 200 1 239 1 278 1232
Montenegro .. .. .. 122
Netherlands 1 082 993 .. 791
Republic of Moldova 406 420 391 571
Romania 2 499 2 461 2 641 2712
Serbia .. .. .. 962
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 162 107 143 140
Turkey 5 510 4 386 4 496 6022

Source: UNECE Transport Division Database for 2000, 2001 and 2005 figures
WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety for 2008 figures

Definition: Killed: Any person who was killed outright or who died within 30 days as a result of the accident.
Greece: persons recorded as killed are those who die within 3 days of the accident; persons who die later are recorded as injured.

For more information, please contact:

UNECE Transport Division

Palais des Nations

CH – 1211 Geneva 10

Phone: +41 (0)22 917 1837

Email: infotransport@unece.org


Ref: ECE/TRANS/09/P05