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Transport Minister Vehviläinen: The EU has to pursue efforts to improve road safety

Transport Minister Vehviläinen: The EU has to pursue efforts to improve road safety

Press release 21.04.2008 18.50 fi en

Ms Anu Vehviläinen, Minister of Transport of Finland, says that the worst problems of traffic in Europe were tragically involved in Spain bus crash: drink driving, speeding and limited use of safety equipment.

Nine Finnish tourists were killed on Saturday, 19 April, in Costa del Sol, Spain, in a crash of a bus and a private car.

"It is up to the decision-makers to ensure that determined work for improving road safety will continue. It is the EU's aim to reduce the number of traffic fatalities by half from the year 2001 to 2010. In 2001, road traffic fatalities in current EU Member States amounted to 54 000. The statistics suggest that the aim will not be reached. The EU absolutely must increase the effectiveness of road safety measures."

Minister Vehviläinen hopes that the EU will start preparing a new road safety programme as soon as possible.

"Blood alcohol limits for drink driving should be discussed in both the EU and Finland. Many countries have set stricter limits for young or professional drivers, for example. The effects of various practices must be examined."

The bus crash in Spain has raised discussion about the use of seat belts in buses and coaches. There is an EU Directive on seat belts in buses, i.e. the same binding principles apply to all EU Member States.