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Scania launches safety initiatives

Scania today launched new initiatives to promote road safety. The first initiative concerns young truck drivers, emanating from a need to boost the status and attraction of this profession. The second initiative aims at establishing a pan-European road database that includes the special requirements of commercial vehicles, in addition to passenger cars.

The initiatives were presented by Scania's President and CEO Leif Östling in conjunction with a top-level safety conference in Brussels hosted by Scania. Among the attendants were more than 250 decision-makers from the European Commission, the European Parliament, as well as other EU Affairs officials, journalists and industry representatives.

In his opening speech, Mr Östling noted that the death toll on European roads, with 41,000 persons killed in the year 2000, is evidence that great efforts need to be implemented right away. In view of the potential of and increasing use of new technologies, it is also necessary to start cross-disciplinary cooperation in the field of road safety.

1 – Young European DriverBesides promoting safety, the objective of this initiative is to raise the competence and to influence attitudes towards truck driving. There is a shortage of truck drivers in Europe today, and this means that less experienced drivers have come into the business. Together with the Transport and Energy Directorate, Scania is therefore taking the Young European Driver initiative and hopes the European Commission will be able to participate as a partner.

Young drivers are invited to a competition in safe and efficient driving. The competition will involve all EU countries, with regional qualifying rounds. The European final will be a tough event, where all the necessary competences of a good driver will be put on trial. The best and safest truck driver in Europe will then be appointed to serve as a model for other young drivers.

2 – Pan-European road databaseThe second initiative is to evaluate the need for a common European road database that includes heavy traffic data, e.g. weight, height and length restrictions, as well as noise and environmental considerations. Stakeholders in road transport and road safety will be gathered to compile what has been done so far, what should be done and identify the obstacles. The stakeholders include internet-based map companies, big transport fleets, research institutes (e.g. VTI and Dekra) and competitors.

Halving fatalities until 2010Commissioner Erkki Liikanen, in charge of Enterprise and Information Society, highlighted the strong safety potential of new technology and IT systems in the years up to 2010. The possibilities are almost unlimited, but new systems must be carefully engineered to suit the human mind, otherwise they risk complicating instead of facilitating for the parties involved.

The objectives of the new European road safety policy were presented by Mr Dimitrios Theologitis of the European Commission, head of unit at the Directorate-General for Transport and Energy. The ambition outlined in the White Paper is to halve the number of people killed on European roads between 2000 and 2010. Mr Patrick Norroy from the Road Safety and Technology Unit reported about practical experience of new technology so far.

Other speakers representing R&D, automotive suppliers and other specialist disciplines were Mr Hasse Johansson, Dr Oliver Carsten, Prof Kåre Rumar, Prof Yngve Håland, Mr Bernard Vasdeboncoeur. Representatives from Supertransport, a Belgian haulage company, covered issues related to transport operations and drivers.

The theme of the safety conference – Improving road safety with intelligent transport systems – was supported with an exhibition of the latest in commercial vehicle safety, including a safety concept vehicle from Scania and a new crash-zone concept for trucks.

More information about the conference, including programme, presentations, images, exhibition, etc, will be published at www.scania.com under the heading Scania safety initiatives at noon on Thursday 22 Nov.

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For further information, please contact Ulf Söderström, Press Manager, tel. +46 8 55381044, e-mail ulf.soderstrom@scania.com