Assuming that people make mistakes, SS advocates a holistic approach based on a variety of multi-level measures to prevent deaths and serious injuries caused by these mistakes, which takes human vulnerability into account.
SS, introduced by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Transport Forum (IFT) in 2008, pursues the same goals as ‘Vision Zero’ defined in 1997 by Sweden, has the premise that nobody should be killed or seriously injured as a result of a road crashes and starts from the following principles:
The Safe System approach is a key component of the United Nations (UN) 2020 resolution on road safety (derived from the Stockholm Declaration) and is a pillar of European efforts to improve road safety. The European Road Safety Policy Framework 2021-2030 states that “we need to implement the Safe System at EU level“.
SS must be a road system that
Main pillars of the STS approach
These pillars should be viewed in an integrated way, so that if one of them fails, another one or others will accommodate this failure to prevent greater damage.
Drivers will always make mistakes, and the infrastructure should help reduce these mistakes and minimise the severity of their consequences. This premise gives rise to the concept of a tolerant road, one that accommodates human error, that takes into account the vulnerability and physical limitations of the human body.
SS is well aware of the inevitability of human error, but is also aware that deaths and serious injuries as a result of a road crash should not be regarded as inevitable, and can be avoided.
Everyone has the right to use the roads without the risk of being involved in a road crash that could result in a serious or fatal injury; nobody should pay for a driving mistake with their life.