Every year, about 1.3 million people die in road accidents worldwide, and up to 50 million are severely injured. According to the World Health Organisation, road accidents are projected to surpass HIV and tuberculosis as a cause of death by 2020 if current trends continue.
Germany managed to stop and reverse the trend of increasing accident statistics caused by the mass motorisation of the 1960s. To stem this deadly development, accident and road traffic research was quickly applied to adjust traffic rules and road safety standards on a continual basis. In combination with numerous innovative solutions developed by the German industry and research institutes, the number of traffic deaths was reduced from 19,000 in 1970 to 3,250 in 2013. Although there is no general speed limit on German highways, intelligent traffic management systems adapt speed limits in accordance to traffic and weather conditions. Truck and car drivers experience an outstanding traffic education, and regulations for moving dangerous goods by road, rail and ship are strictly enforced. Operational standards for cars, busses, trucks, trains, ships and trams and regular inspections by qualified companies and institutes assure highest safety levels across all transportation modes.
Numerous actors from the private sector, civil society, research and public authorities have co-operated tirelessly to make “Vision Zero” (cutting the number of traffic deaths to zero) a reality. DEKRA recently reported that in the last several years many German cities didn’t have to report a single traffic death.