Europe's roads need intelligent vehicle safety systems


Creation date: 07 October 2008

Key road safety players representing national and European interests meet on 25 and 26 September 2008 to review how hi-tech safety systems for cars, so called eSafety systems, can help reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on Europe’s roads. The 10th European eSafety Observers meeting took place in Vilnius, Lithuania.


The event featured presentations by the European Commission and eSafety Support experts, giving an overview of the eSafety initiative, its current priorities and its achievements to date. National road safety players from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are also invited to provide a detailed status of eSafety development and deployment in the Baltic region through a series of presentations.


The eSafety initiative, dating from 2002, is dedicated to halving the number of road deaths in Europe by 2010 through the development and deployment of eSafety systems.


In 2001 there were more than 1.4 million car accidents and 40,000 road fatalities on Europe’s roads. Increased use of eSafety systems could bring this number down substantially. By decreasing the driver’s workload, detecting dangers and providing support in hazardous situations, such systems could save thousands of lives every year. However, the current penetration of eSafety systems on European roads is low, and therefore a higher number of lives could still be saved.


Companies and public authorities have developed many applications on road safety in collaborative research projects in the last decades. CVIS  and SAFESPOT  are only a few examples of projects coping with the development of new technologies that will contribute to anticipate traffic situations ahead through innovative preventive and cooperative safety systems. Vehicles communicating with each other and their infrastructure can warn the user about hazardous situations ahead and other obstacles threatening their safety.


eCall  – the pan-European in-vehicle emergency call - is another technology that is part of the eSafety system and it is already on the market. When the car senses a major impact, eCall will automatically report its exact location to the nearest emergency centre. Anyone in the car can also trigger an eCall by simply pushing a button. The technology could save an estimated 2,500 lives every year and provide faster medical care for many thousands more. eCall also decreases  congestion by 15%, which will lead to a reduction in fuel consumption and consequently less harm on the environment. With the necessary commitment from all relevant stakeholders, the life-saving technology will be available as standard equipment in all new vehicles from 2011.



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