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Albania must further strengthen coordination of road safety efforts and address remaining challenges

Published: 30 July 2018

The Albanian vehicle fleet has increased dramatically within the last ten years, and while the overall number of fatal traffic accidents over the last two years has decreased, the country still faces serious challenges. 94 fatalities per 1 million inhabitants were recorded on Albania’s roads in 2016, which is almost twice the EU average.  Despite sustained efforts to improve its road safety situation, Albania must further strengthen its efforts.

Taking a holistic approach to the situation, the new Road Safety Performance Review (RSPR) for Albania identifies specific issues and proposes a comprehensive set of recommendations.

According to the Review, a key step is improving Albania’s road safety management by strengthening national institutional capacities and coordination between road safety stakeholders and experts at the national and local level. Strengthening the role of the Inter-Ministerial Road Safety Committee for the overall coordination of road safety efforts in the country is identified as a particular priority. 

The Review also identifies the issue of investing in road safety, and recommends increasing dedicated funding for road safety initiatives from both the state budget and local government financing.

An important part of the review process was the analysis of the legal and administrative framework for road safety in the country.  As an EU candidate country, Albania has been making considerable progress towards harmonization with EU legislation on road safety, as well as with international best practices. The Review emphasizes the importance of implementing the UN road safety-related legal instruments as effective tools to improve road safety at national level.

UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova stated “Through their comprehensive assessment and solution-oriented approach, Road Safety Performance Reviews aim to provide a practical tool to improve road safety on the ground. We hope this Review will support Albania in strengthening coordinated action at national and local levels, and targeted policy interventions in key areas, driving progress towards the country’s National Road Safety Strategy and the road safety targets of the Sustainable Development Goals”.

Among the specific road safety challenges in Albania identified in the Review is the need to address risky behaviour of drivers and vulnerable road users. In recent years, speeding has been among the riskiest behaviours despite efforts to strengthen enforcement and legal consequences.  Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) is also an emerging problem. 

The Review identifies improving education as essential part of the solution to road safety issues. Particular emphasis is placed on making efforts to improve the driving school system, extending education on traffic rules to the pre-school and school curricula, and organizing public awareness campaigns. 

Despite the fact that much of the country’s road infrastructure was constructed or reconstructed recently, the Review points to issues of high-risk road sections, especially in urban areas.  The right of way not being respected along main road corridors is pinpointed as a particular problem. Therefore, the Review recommendations focus on the preparation of a set of national guidelines –  including one on road access, on road safety inspection and on speed management – to ensure safe roads design and the protection of right of way.

As Albania is not a vehicle producer, all passenger cars are imported, mainly from Europe.  New vehicles constitute only 5% of the vehicle fleet and second-hand cars require more rigorous technical inspections. Currently, mandatory periodical technical inspection of vehicles are conducted every year, and roadside inspections consist primarily of a visual check of the vehicle and documents. The review outlines a number of recommendations to improve roadside inspections, in addition to inspection of vehicles which transport dangerous goods.

The Review also recommends strengthening the collection and use of robust and reliable data and indicators on road safety to regularly monitor the implementation of Albania’s Road Safety Strategy and conduct research in support of evidence-based decision making.

The review is available at:

http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/trans/roadsafe/unda/AL_RSPR_WEB_e.pdf

Note to editors

The Road Safety Performance Review was prepared as the initial phase of the UNECE project “Strengthening the national road safety management capacities of selected developing countries and countries with economies in transition”.  The aim of the project is to assist four countries: Albania, Dominican Republic, Georgia and Viet Nam to address priority road safety issues by improving their national road safety management systems.

The project is being implemented by UNECE with the cooperation of ESCAP and ECLAC.  The project is part of the UN work on Sustainable Development Goals three which calls for halving the number of road deaths and injuries and 11 which calls for creating safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all.

The Road Safety Performance Review complement SafeFITS, a web-based modelling tool, with a primary objective to assist governments and decision makers to identify the most appropriate road safety policies and measures that lead to tangible results and improved road safety records. By imputing potential policy actions into SafeFITS, the model will anticipate expected outcomes and evaluate the effects in terms of number of lives saved. 


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