New road safety initiatives from Scania
Scania has decided to support the World Health Organisation (WHO) in its worldwide road safety efforts. Another initiative is that Scania will offer the supplementary driver training that will be mandatory for professional bus and truck drivers in the European Union from 2008 and 2009, respectively. These steps were announced by Leif Östling, Scania’s CEO and President, on Wednesday evening, 4 October, when he concluded the company’s transport conference in Brussels.
Traffic-related accidents are regarded as one of the world’s largest health problems. Annually 1.2 million people are killed worldwide, and a further 50 million suffering injury or permanent invalidity. Traffic accidents take second place as the cause of death in the 5 to 29 year age range and third place in the 30 to 44 age group. The key to successful prevention lies in the commitment of all relevant sectors, public and private, to make road safety happen. As a leading truck manufacturer Scania sees efforts to reduce road accidents as an important area of the company’s responsibility. The development of safer vehicles, improved infrastructure and driver training are the most important factors for improving road safety. “The driver is the single most vital factor, which is why we are now expanding our commitment to driver training,” said Mr Östling said as he presented Scania’s new road safety initiatives. By the support from Scania, which initially runs for two years, WHO will have access to the company’s experts in heavy vehicles and road safety both at corporate level and in its global marketing network. WHO will also be invited to participate in Scania’s various road safety arrangements. In addition, Scania will participate in the UN agency’s conferences and symposiums, taking advantage of opportunities to exchange views with WHO’s network of experts. “We look forward to Scania’s support,” said Etienne Krug, Director of WHO’s Department for Injuries and Violence Prevention, who presented a report at the transport conference on WHO’s worldwide road safety programme. Today Scania already offers driver training to its customers in a number of markets around the world. The purpose of the training is improve road safety behaviour, which also leads to more fuel-efficient driving and less vehicle wear, i.e. lower operating costs for the transport company. Based on its knowledge and experience from this training, Scania will be able to offer driver training in compliance with the EU’s new legislation on mandatory training for professional drivers. EU Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot was one of the main speakers at the conference, which gathered EU parliamentarians and officials, researchers and other experts, as well as automotive industry, haulage industry and media representatives. He congratulated Scania for having turned the conference, organised for the fourth time since 1999, into a genuine institution in Brussels. In his speech, Mr Barrot observed that road safety requires a sustained commitment, in order to achieve the EU’s objective of halving the number of fatalities on its roads between 2001 and 2010. He hoped that such positive examples as Scania’s Young European Truck Driver initiative will continue. Young European Truck Driver is a road safety competition for young truck drivers initiated by Scania in 2003 in cooperation with the European Commission. In this year’s competition, 13,000 young drivers from 26 European countries participated. “Scania will run the competition also in 2007,” Leif Östling announced at the conference. In 2003 the EU also adopted an action plan aimed at halving the number of road fatalities within the Union, which totalled 50,000 people per year. To date, the number of yearly fatalities has decreased by only 13 percent. “All stakeholders therefore need to multiply their efforts,” said Jacques Barrot. Mr Barrot’s speech at Scania’s transport conference is available on the EU Commission’s website on the Internet: http://europa.eu.int For further information, please contact Hans-Åke Danielsson, Press Manager, Scania, tel. +46-8-553 856 62.