Currently, more than 40,000 people are killed and 1.7 million injured on European roads every year and the EC's aim is to reduce this number by half to 20,000 deaths.
'Saving human life through a genuine road safety policy is a challenge and an obligation, and all the public authorities should work together to this end: it is high time that, at all levels, actions are commensurate with intentions,' said Loyola de Palacio, vice-president of the European Commission with special responsibility for transport and energy.
'For its part, the Commission will shoulder its responsibilities and will not hesitate to make all necessary proposals to make it possible to radically change the trends observable in many countries.'
In its European Road Safety Action Programme 2003–2010, published last week, the Commission is seeking to guide action by the EU in the field of road safety, complement efforts made by member states to reduce the number of deaths on the road and define a clear framework for the sharing of responsibilities between all the parties concerned.
In particular, it wants to encourage users to behave better, make vehicles safer and improve road infrastructure.
The programme's objectives include initial and continuous training of private and commercial drivers to combat dangerous driving.
The Commission is also keen to alter labelling on over-the-counter medicines that can affect driving, an issue which has become prevalent in the UK recently.
UK fleet decision-makers have come under renewed pressure to impose strict checks on business drivers' health amid warnings that labelling of some medicines is inconsistent, inaccurate and could be dangerous (Fleet News May 30).