The first Project EDWARD (European Day Without A Road Death), which took place in 31 countries on Wednesday, September 21 and was organized by the European Traffic Police Network (TISPOL), proved to be a successful awareness-raiser, with reduced fatalities over the 24-hour period.
The campaign, launched by TISPOL, was widely supported by the European Commission (EC) as part of European Mobility Week. Project EDWARD supported the idea that road safety concerns all of us when, on average, 70 people die and a further 370 are seriously injured every day on Europe’s roads. It was an opportunity to encourage all road users to reduce risks and improve safety, while they were driving, walking or cycling. According to TISPOL’s statistics, there were 43 road deaths across 31 countries on the day of the event, compared with 70 fatalities on the same day in 2015 a reduction of 38%. A total of 19 countries recorded zero fatalities, while seven other countries recorded a reduction in fatalities, compared with the same day in 2015, and only three countries recorded an increase in fatalities.
More than 103,000 organizations and individuals signed a road safety pledge on the TISPOL website and more than 80 road safety actions were organized across Europe, including information and awareness-raising activities in schools and companies, workshops, conferences and competitions.
In addition, the #ProjectEDWARD and #seatbeltselfie social media campaign reached more than 19 million people. The #ProjectEDWARD hashtag was a runaway success on social media: it was trending on Twitter in many countries and even made it into the top 50 trending topics globally, with a total of 7,923 Tweets. It was so successful that it featured in Twitter’s ‘Moments’ section, which presents the most important topics happening at a particular time.
“Education and awareness make important contributions to road safety, and Project EDWARD sets an extremely ambitious target: to achieve a day without a single death on Europe’s roads,” said EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc.
“This year, we recorded a significant improvement compared with 2015, which shows that when all stakeholders come together, we really make an impact and save lives. We are on the right path to make the aspirational goal of zero fatalites a reality.”
TISPOL’s president, Paolo Cestra, said, “When we launched Project EDWARD, we accepted that it would be incredibly difficult to achieve a day without a road death across Europe. But we believe these results show that when everyone works together toward such a worthwhile goal, we can make a big difference. We thank everyone who signed the pledge, who shared our information messages, and who made one or two small differences in the way they use the road. Any small individual action counts in helping to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on the roads of Europe.”