A new safety initiative encouraging road users to be more vigilant on European roads, with the aim of working towards a day without a road death, will launch today (21 September).

European Day Without a Road Death, also known as Project EDWARD, was created by the European Traffic Police Network (TISPOL), to form part of a wider campaign aiming to half the number of fatalities on the roads across Europe by 2020.

The initiative highlights the 70 deaths reported on European roads every day, while encouraging road users to pause and reflect on their behaviour when behind the wheel.

Currently, more than 100,000 people have pledged to support the campaign, by being more aware of vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and horse riders, driving at safe and legal speeds and carrying out safety checks on their vehicles before setting off.

The awareness day is being supported by all 30 TISPOL member countries, including France, Italy and the UK, as well as various road safety organisations across Europe.

In 2015, 1,732 people died in road traffic collisions in the UK, and more than 22,000 suffered a serious injury.

Thompsons Solicitors’ specialist road traffic collision solicitor and chair of RoadPeace North East, David Robinson, said: “Research suggests that increasing numbers of drivers are admitting to texting, calling or even accessing social media behind the wheel and initiatives such as Project EDWARD play a crucial role in promoting road safety while helping to eliminate dangerous and reckless behaviour on the roads.

“While we hope that Project EDWARD will prove effective in driving down serious and fatal road traffic collisions across Europe, the UK government has a key role to play in protecting road users’ safety by investing in education and awareness that, in turn, helps to lessen the strain on the NHS, and on families whose lives have been devastated as a result of a road collision.”