Our latest round-up of road safety news from across Europe – courtesy of TISPOL – includes details of a continent-wide focus on HGVs and driver resting hours.
Until Sunday (24 Feb), checks of HGVs and coaches are taking place in 27 TISPOL member countries – with the emphasis on ensuring drivers are ‘legally rested’ and their vehicles are roadworthy.
Coaches are being checked for the correct loading, securing and equipment – such as emergency hammers and properly functioning electric doors – to minimise the impact for anyone involved in a collision.
Coach drivers are also being reminded of the dangers of other violations, including not wearing a seat belt.
Meanwhile in Denmark, new proposals have been put forward that would lower the age limit for riders of mopeds that can reach speeds of 45km/h.
There are currently two different types of mopeds used on Danish roads, so-called ‘small mopeds’ with a maximum speed of 30km/h and ‘big mopeds’ that can reach speeds of up to 45km/h.
Anyone over 15 years can ride the former but the latter are reserved for those with a driving licence, so over-18s.
The Danish People’s Party, Dansk Folkeparti, is behind the proposal that would lower the age limit for ‘big mopeds’ to 16 years, arguing that it would be good for increasing the mobility of young people, especially in remote parts of Denmark.
In Italy, authorities are considering a controversial move to ban smoking in cars.
Advocates say the move would help avoid health problems related to smoking, while also decreasing traffic risks associated with distracted driving.
Fabio Galli, an analyst on road and traffic issues with the consumer organisation Codacons, said: “This idea presents a new take on a very old problem, which is how to balance the rights of an individual’s freedom to make personal choices and the desire to make changes that benefit the public at large.”
In the UK, it is illegal to smoke in a car (or other vehicle) with passengers under 18 years of age. The law changed in October 2015, to protect children and young people from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
Across the border in France, a fall in casualties is being attributed to reduction in speed limits on secondary roads from 90km/h to 80km/h, which came into effect in July 2018.
There were 3,259 road deaths in France during 2018, a year-on-year decrease of 5.5%.
The speed limit reduction is estimated to have saved 116 lives, according to authorities.
And finally in Portugal, police have launched an ‘extensive’ road safety campaign aimed at reducing serious traffic collisions – in the wake of a rise in road deaths in 2018.
Operation Estrada Segura, or Safe Road, runs until the end of February and is encouraging drivers to practise ‘defensive and safer’ driving.
Last year, the European Union singled out Portugal for failing to follow the example of other member states in reducing road deaths.