I feel proud to be Swedish when I read the road safety vision of the Swedish Trafikverkets (The Swedish Transport Administration) Vision Zero. “The goal with all traffic, road safety work is that no one shall be killed or seriously injured in traffic. Together, in the Vision Zero, everyone – companies, organisations and authorities – work towards reaching the same goals”. In this Vision Zero, Sweden is unique. Nevertheless, Sweden has the “best” road accident statistics in the world measured per 100 000 inhabitants. The amount of persons killed or seriously injured in traffic is continuously dropping on a rolling 12 months basis. One could claim that it has to do with less population and a vast and stretched out network of roads that has less dense traffic. It is true that traffic jams and queues are not as bad as in certain parts of central Europe but on the other hand Sweden has a lot of snow and ice on the roads in wintertime and plenty of wild animals on the roads. A 500 kg moose is not something one wants to run into. 65% of all serious accidents in Sweden involve wild animals.
It may seem unrealistic to set up a road safety Vision Zero that is so difficult to reach. Or is it? Well this is the reason why it is set out as a vision. I’m convinced that the goal can be reached in the future. The technology to avoid almost all accidents is available already today. One problem is that there are different economic interests in this. How should different systems communicate with each other? Who should have access to the data of an accident? Who should get the emergency-signal from an accident? Which technical platform should be used? Etc.
EU can be a good forum for this provided that a proper and correct technical platform is selected. Preferably one that does not involve a lot of costly investments that will have to be installed along the roads…
One good example of a product that can save lives is the road safety app from iRezQ.com. The app uses the built in sensors already existing in a smartphone and via intelligent algorithms it determines if the owner is involved in an accident and automatically reports to a rescue centre. Within seconds the app warns everyone else with the same app about the nearby danger, thus preventing others from running into you. ”WARNING! ACCIDENT NEARBY, SLOW DOWN”
Volvo has a road safety solution that detects if the airbag is released. This is a good product but it does not alert anyone else about an accident. If you survive the first crash you might still be in trouble since other cars are not being warned.
Other cars have similar built in systems that are coming in future versions.