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The Safe System Approach - Eliminating Deaths and Serious Injuries

6 November 2008

RoadSafe urges all professionals to read and understandthe recently issued OECD/ITF report - Towards Zero: Ambitious Road Safety Targets and the Safe System Approach.

The report shows that ambitious targets are a powerful stimulus s to developing new approaches to preventing los s of life and serious injury on the roads. The report also promotes a ‘Safe System’ approach to casualty reduction.

RoadSafe champions for theadoption of a Safe System approach, which represents a fundamental shift in road safety policy as its ultimate goal is to prevent any road user being subject to impacts sufficient to cause fatal or serious injury when inevitable errors of judgement result in crashes.

Modern cars are built with thisconcept central to their design - unlike the driver or other occupants, provided that they are driven within the limits of the environment (road, weather, traffic conditions etc) they are designed to withstand a crash!

The basic strategy of a Safe System approach is to ensure that in the event of a crash, the impact energies remain below the threshold likely to produce either death or serious injury. It sees the road user as the weakest link in the transport chain, unpredictable and capable of error, education and information efforts notwithstanding.

Although this is a very long term objective it transforms the level of ambition; the safe system approach opens up new potential for improving performance by addressing all elements of the road transport system together, finding synergies for trauma reduction when safer road and vehicle design, speed limits and compliance with road rules are pursued in concert.

Further details are available here.