A new report published by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) shows that more than 8,000 children aged 0-14 years have been killed in road traffic collisions over the last 10 years in the European Union.
The ETSC is calling for the introduction of new EU vehicle safety standards to help reduce child road deaths after the study of new data revealed that one in every 13 child deaths in Europe occurs as a result of a road collision.
The study shows that half of the children killed were travelling in cars, a third were walking, and 13% were cycling. The European Commission (EC) is expected to announce an update of its vehicle safety regulations on May 2, almost a decade since the last update. The EU is also currently preparing a road safety strategy for the next 10 years. The ETSC is hoping that both policies include measure to help reduce child fatalities.
ETSC says that measures that can reduce speeding are critical to preventing the deaths of more children, and is calling for the EU to require vehicle safety technologies, such as Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) and Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) that can detect pedestrians and cyclists, to be fitted as standard on all new cars.
The ETSC report also shows that absent, inappropriate or incorrectly fitted child seats remain a significant problem across the EU. According to the World Health Organization, correctly installed and used child restraints reduce the likelihood of a road death by up to 80%. ETSC is calling for better education, more enforcement, and reduced VAT on child seats. The organization is also asking for EU Member States to introduce well-enforced 20mph (30km/h) zones in areas with high levels of walking and cycling, and around schools.
“Smart, cost-effective and proven vehicle safety technologies, such as Automated Emergency Braking and Intelligent Speed Assistance, could be as important for saving kids’ lives as the seatbelt. But the real change will only come when, just like with seatbelts, these technologies are fitted on every car as standard, not as an optional extra on a select few,” said Antonio Avenoso, executive director of ETSC.
“Not a day goes by without a politician or a car maker promising that autonomous cars will solve the road safety problem. But there is a grave risk that governments will ignore the huge safety benefits that can be achieved by installing proven driver assistance technologies today.”