The EU Parliament wants to tighten the traffic rules on alcohol and speed. But how likely is it that such measures will be adopted? Will Vision Zero become a reality in the EU?
A large part of the discussions about road traffic and mobility currently revolves around the topic of climate protection. But for the EU Parliament, the issue of security is now increasingly coming to the fore. According to the Parliament, around 23,000 people died in road accidents within the European Union in 2019 alone. That is why Vision Zero is now a priority.
Remembering the initiative of various states, associations and car manufacturers called “Vision Zero”, MEPs want to reduce this number to almost zero by 2050. One of two demands that should help to achieve the goal is a zero tolerance limit for drink-driving.
What is Vision Zero?
Vision Zero is the vision of a world without work accidents and work-related illnesses. Avoiding fatal and serious accidents at work and occupational diseases has the highest priority. Vision Zero aims to create a comprehensive prevention culture.
As early as 2008, the statutory accident insurance in Germany anchored in its prevention strategy the goal of designing working and living environments in such a way that no one is killed or seriously injured or falls ill due to work-related reasons that damage occurs. However, in order for Vision Zero to become reality one day, prevention work must always be reoriented towards this goal. This broad and networked approach requires the participation of all social actors.
Basic maxims or Vision Zero are
- Life is not negotiable!
- People make mistakes!
- Tolerance limits are the physical limits of human stress!
- People have a basic right to a safe work environment!
If life is non-negotiable and people make mistakes, then it is ethically unacceptable to pay for mistakes with death or serious injury.
Vision Zero is a strategic, comprehensive and qualitative approach,
- in which goals are formulated and agreed,
- which is based on hazards and
- in which all circumstances of the occurrence of accidents at work and in road traffic, of occupational diseases and of work-related health hazards are considered.
The goal of zero accidents may seem difficult, but it is the only ethical goal that we must work towards in the future. Vision Zero offers the strategy for this. Under Vision Zero, safety and health at work are values that are recognized and striven for in companies, organizations and society.
Vision Zero is characterized by two key basic conditions:
- Man makes mistakes. The traffic system has to reckon with these mistakes and forgive them. It follows from this principle that road safety must become a social responsibility, which also includes the automotive industry, construction management and insurance companies.
- The resilience of the human body is becoming the decisive benchmark. Even in the worst case, the consequences of an accident must no longer be fatal.
EU Parliament calls for the alcohol limit to be reduced to zero
If the EU Parliament has its way, the alcohol limit in road traffic should be reduced to 0.0. Most EU countries currently have a blood alcohol content of 0.5 per ml as a limit for drivers – in this country this applies if the drivers are older than 21 years. In the event of an abnormal driving style or if an accident is caused, a penalty is also possible below this limit of 0.5 per thousand.
In Germany, the police counted more than 31,500 road accidents with drunk driving in the past year, around 15,500 people were injured. “In concern for the people who will be killed in the future,” the German Road Safety Council (DVR) has been calling for a ban on alcohol at the wheel for ten years. According to Spiegel information, the organization counted 280 deaths from the influence of alcohol in accidents in 2018 – in Germany alone. That accounts for 7.5 percent of all road deaths.
The second demand of the EU Parliament is to limit the speed of vehicles in residential areas and areas with a lot of bicycle and foot traffic to 30 kilometers per hour. In German cities, the speed limit in urban areas is 50 kilometers per hour.
No alcohol and stricter speed limit: EU Parliament proposes measures
“Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists make up 70 percent of road deaths in our cities,” explains Helena Dalli, EU Commissioner responsible for gender equality. Footpaths and bike paths that were created in the times of Corona * should therefore continue to exist. In view of the boom in electric scooters and other electrically powered vehicles, the EU Parliament criticized the lack of legislation in some member states and different rules in the individual countries, which “can make it difficult for visitors to follow local regulations”.
The members of the European Parliament also call for people with disabilities and limited mobility to be better taken into account when planning and building roads.
The demands of the EU Parliament are unlikely to have any serious effects, as the only directly elected body of the European Union has little power. Laws are usually proposed by the EU Commission, the individual states must agree. It is therefore unlikely that such restrictions will soon become law and come into force as a directive or ordinance.
7 golden rules for VISION ZERO
- Live leadership – fly your flag!
- Danger recognized – danger averted!
- Define goals – set up a program!
- Well organized – with a system!
- Machines, technology, systems – safe and healthy!
- Knowledge creates security!
- Invest in people – motivate through participation!
Vison Zero: It’s time for zero traffic fatalities
The term Vison Zero originally comes from occupational safety and was further developed for traffic by the Swedish Road Traffic Authority in the mid-1990s. Vision Zero stands for a paradigm shift in road safety work and for a comprehensive action plan.
The implementation of Vision Zero requires a large number of individual measures in four fields of action. All serve the goal of reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured to a minimum.
- People & Society
- Street and habitat
Vision Zero is much more than a target. It is a paradigm shift in road safety work and a comprehensive action plan.
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