In Belgium the victims are falling like flies, and we already regularly indicated how this could be prevented.
You can find a lot of information about this in our theme “European road safety” at www.transporteffect.com.
It seems that publishing one or more articles is not always enough to get the seriousness of the matter across to those pulling the strings.
Since many accidents with fatalities have happened over a few days, one must realize that the importance is extremely high.
What strikes us is that organizations that for years claim to be committed to road safety, keep their silence while so many accidents occur. We also have regularly addressed these organizations with necessary points of improvement in the field of road safety. But yet again we get the impression that the importance of their interests was financial rather than social.
We have raised the following issues before:
– Signage and clarity for road works.
Europe no longer has borders and it is common knowledge that foreign drivers are dominating the roads.
One of the serious problems this entails is that written texts are not understood.
This causes doubts and mistakes, which could cause accidents.
When in doubt, one brakes, which leads to unexpected situations.
As an immediate consequence of this, the harmonica effect will occur.
The solution to transferring the right information would be using symbols that are identical throughout Europe.
Keeping distance and its importance
The cause of rear-end collisions is far too easily attributed by “experts” to distraction by mobile phones or other technical devices.
We believe that this is put too bluntly,
and we think one only comes to this conclusion because no other cause can be imagined.
In particular, we see the uncontrollable harmonica effect as the cause of rear-end collisions.
Keeping a distance between vehicles is rarely checked and the chance of being caught for cutting a vehicle is also nil.
Especially with overtaking bans it has become a trend that large vehicles quickly overtake, only to reinsert a few meters ahead of the overtaken vehicle.
But we also regularly see smaller vehicles filling up the space between two trucks.
If in that case the speed will not be drastically reduced, keeping distance is no longer possible, which again causes the harmonica effect.
In traffic it is essential to be able to look ahead, which is impossible when a truck is within 30 meters in the field of view. As a result, dangers will be detected too late, which could lead to very serious consequences.
According to calculations, a person needs 2 to 3 seconds to be able to react. This is in optimal situations, for example when one is very alert and not tired.
In case of a harmonica effect, there will always be a late reaction somewhere and there will not be enough time to slow down, especially when the distances are filled up time and again by other vehicles.
The differences in braking distance should not be underestimated; empty and heavily loaded large vehicles have a long to very long braking distance, in contrast to the short braking distance of a small vehicle.
Remote camera control over a distance of several kilometers (the more the better). This will give a 100% guarantee that fines will also be paid by drivers from other Member States. Adaptation of the driving courses, and by means of simulation clearify the difference between trucks and passenger cars.
If we all want to move from A to B more safely, it is our opinion that tackling doubt and keeping distance should be a top priority. This is a task for European politics, but national politics will have to cooperate.
Because this is very important in Belgium today, we contacted Ms Carmen Ryheul (Member of Parliament for Vlaams Belang), who was immediately ready to get started. (https://www.vlaamsparlement.be/vlaamse-volksvertegenwoordigers/carmen-ryheul)
The political approach will be to bring these disastrous accidents to the public attention more widely and thus to achieve more awareness.
Of course, we will carry out more lobbies and we demand that also in serious traffic accidents the bottom stone will always be gotten above, as already is standard procedure in aircraft accidents.
A database listing the perpetrators (with their Member State of origin) and the serious accidents, should be used to improve driving courses and to learn lessons from for the future.
We foresee that the number of road casualties could drop drastically if the politicians would be willing to step up. We also call on road safety organizations to get out of hibernation and do what they are being supported for.