Industry bodies are calling on the European Commission and national governments to step-up road maintenance standards.
The Féderation International de l'Automobile (FIA), the European Road Federation (ERF), the International Road Transport Union (IRU) and the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), along with leading safety organisations EuroRAP and Euro NCAP have made a joint statement, coinciding with the publication of 'Roads that cars can read' by EuroRAP and Euro NCAP.
They argue that roads that are not regularly maintained cost many times more to repair and reconstruct. They result in avoidable death, bodily injury and damage, and fail to provide the connectivity on which jobs, the economy and society depend.
The report also suggests that inadequate maintenance and differences in road markings and traffic signs are now a major obstacle to the effective use of technology in vehicles, such as lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition.
The organisations call on EU member states to maintain road infrastructure, keeping it safe and fit for its modern purpose.
"Throughout Europe, the declining condition of our roads has become a matter of deep concern," the statement reads. "The failure to maintain the value of this fundamental asset underpinning the entire European economy and society brings costs that everyone will pay in higher taxes, higher motor and health insurance, and fewer jobs.
"Failure to manage the financing of proper road maintenance is a failure of good government.
“This failure is not only putting drivers at risk, but also the effective operation of future vehicle safety technologies in which European companies and institutions have invested billions.
"Improved vehicle safety has been the single most important reason that road deaths have fallen in the last decade in many countries.
"There must now be concerted action on safe roads, safe vehicles and safe driving to move the 300,000 annual deaths and serious injuries and 2% loss of GDP in Europe towards zero, in line with Europe’s declared long-term vision.”
The statement concludes: “We call on the Commission and all stakeholders to support this strategy to develop roads that both drivers and vehicles can read.”