Words into action to ensure road safety
The new Road Safety Programme includes key measures for road safety work until 2014 and outlines the relevant policy lines extending until 2020.
The Consultative Committee on Road Safety submitted the national Road Safety Programme extending until 2014 to Minister of Transport Merja Kyllönen on 17 February 2012. The goal of the programme is that by 2020, the number of traffic fatalities will have been halved and injuries in road traffic will have reduced by one quarter as compared to the 2010 numbers. In 2010, a total of 272 persons were killed and 7,673 injured on Finland's roads.
Right attitudes and fitness to drive
According to the Consultative Committee, primary measures to be taken during the next few years should be aimed at improving fitness to drive, people's traffic behaviour and traffic safety both in built-up areas and on roads in general. These can be addressed through action to reduce drink-driving and driving while tired, together with assessing fitness to drive. In addition, it is also essential that speed limits are observed and safety equipment used, and that traffic speeds are reduced in built-up areas and safety improved on the main roads.
As far as long-term policy lines are concerned, the Committee emphasises the importance of steps to shape people's attitudes through lifelong road safety education so as to ensure that future generations are better equipped to take responsibility for their own safety and that of others. In terms of the physical environment, the Committee considers measures to boost the uptake of intelligent transport systems improving road safety to be essential. In addition, more attention should be paid to safety aspects in transport planning.
'Fostering life and health is the starting point of road safety work, and we all have a part to play in it. The actors in charge of transport system development have a big responsibility for ensuring a safe physical environment for traffic. However, even greater responsibility rests with us road users. In order for the transport system to function properly, we must follow the rules and take each other into account in traffic', says Minister of Transport Merja Kyllönen. 'In terms of individual measures, I consider the proposal to lower the blood alcohol limit for drunk driving to 0.2 mg/ml to be the most important. It is a rule but also an attitude - traffic and alcohol do not go together', Minister Kyllönen says.
In an effort to ensure that the programme is implemented and that progress is made in reaching its goals, the Consultative Committee proposes that an indicator system be set up by the end of 2012. The system would provide a tool for detailed monitoring and assessment of the improvement of safety and the effects of safety measures.
The Ministry of Justice submitted a dissenting statement to the Road Safety Programme.
Work based on road safety vision
Road safety work is based on a road safety vision according to which the transport system must be designed so that nobody should die or be seriously injured on roads.
The national Road Safety Programme is drafted by the Consultative Committee on Road Safety. The Committee also assists the Ministry of Transport and Communications in the implementation and monitoring of the programme and takes part in transport policy planning.
The Committee comprises representatives from ministries and expert organisations for traffic safety which through their work promote the implementation of the Road Safety Programme.
Road Safety Programme: Putting words into action. The Road Safety Programme extending until 2014 is available (in Finnish) on the Ministry of Transport and Communications website at www.lvm.fi.
Ms Minna Kivimäki, Director-General, chair to the Consultative Committee, tel. +358 9 160 28013, +358 40 754 9871