Comments invited on draft government resolution on Transport Safety Strategy
On 21 December 2021, the Ministry of Transport and Communications invited comments on draft government resolution on Transport Safety Strategy. “We are searching for ways to improve the situation in broad-based cooperation. The aim is for people in Finland to feel that transport is safe,” says Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka.
According to the vision of the Transport Safety Strategy, by 2050 all modes of transport are so safe that no one will die or be seriously injured in traffic. The Strategy covers the period from 2022 to 2026.
According to the Strategy, the guidelines for transport safety are the following:
1) Transport safety is an issue that concerns everyone in society
2) Decision-making must be based on knowledge
3) Different actors’ skills in traffic must be improved
4) Attitudes in traffic must be changed
5) The transport system and all of its components must be safe
6) Technological advancement improves safety, and
7) Legislation must promote safe mobility.
According to Minister Harakka, new technologies are highly important for improving transport safety but, in the end, human factors such as attitudes, anticipation and competence are even more crucial.
“Strategic policies lead to concrete actions to solve the challenges related to transport safety. Every accident is one too many,” Minister Harakka says.
Annexes to the resolution include the actual Transport Safety Strategy and the documents supplementing it: the action plan for the Strategy and a review of the current state of transport safety.
New measures to be introduced after the consultation round
The action plan contains a wide range of measures for different transport modes.
In road transport, for instance, they are targeted at reducing substance abuse, at transport safety training and awareness raising and at better utilisation of information in transport safety work. In individual modes of mobility, measures related to the safety of electric scooters, for example, have attracted a lot of attention. One such measure is increasing the knowledge of traffic rules.
The measures in rail traffic are directed, for example, at level crossing safety and at prevention of accidents where someone intentionally gets hit by a train. In water transport, the focus is on promoting the use of life vests and, like in road traffic, reducing substance abuse. In air transport, the key measures are related to the development of training in recreational aviation and to the new form of aviation, unmanned aircraft systems, which is on strong increase.
The content and structure of the Strategy appended to the resolution were updated on the basis of the first consultation round held in summer 2021.
After the consultation round, for example a report on the need to amend the provisions relating to the promotion of driving health was added to the action plan. In addition, setting a drink driving limit for cycling and micromobility (e.g. electric scooters) will be examined and its impacts on road safety assessed. A report on increasing the powers of cities regarding electric scooters as well as a report on how to promote the use of life vests by legislative means were included in the plan.
The Strategy now also includes a decision to establish a group to monitor the implementation work and a decision to organise an annual Transport Safety Forum for stakeholders.
Most of the measures in the Strategy would be implemented within the framework of the current resources and by means of targeting the current activities.
Impact assessment of the Strategy measures
An impact assessment was also commissioned for about half of the measures in the Strategy. Those measures, whose impacts on annual traffic deaths and injuries could best be assessed, were included in the assessment.
Based on the impact assessment, the measures would reduce approximately 20 traffic deaths during the strategy period. In addition, other measures would also have clear positive long-term impacts. The Strategy is assessed to be versatile and properly aligned in relation to its objectives.
The Strategy is underpinned by the objective stated in the Programme of Prime Minister Marin’s Government, according to which improvement of transport safety will be included in the development of the transport system and services.
The Strategy is also based on the EU’s Vision Zero in transport safety. The goal is that by 2050 no one will die because of road traffic in EU Member States. In the Strategy, the Zero Vision has been extended to cover all modes of transport. The aim is to halve the number of injuries by 2030 compared to the level of 2020.
National road safety work in Finland has been guided by road safety plans and government resolutions. Previous plans and resolutions were carried out in 1993, 1997, 2001, 2006, 2012 and 2016. Currently, there is no valid strategy or government resolution on transport safety.
The draft government resolution on Transport Safety Strategy was circulated for comments on x December 2021. Comments can be submitted until xx January 2022.
Organisations and private individuals are invited to comment the proposal online at www.lausuntopalvelu.fi or by email at email@example.com.
Following the consultation round, the preparations of the government resolution will continue by Ministry officials. The intention is to adopt it in spring 2022.
Lasse Heliste, Coordinator, tel. +358 50 570 9945, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eeva Asikainen, Senior Officer, tel. + 50 522 6204, email@example.com
Mari Starck, Director of Unit, tel. +358 50 478 1164, firstname.lastname@example.org