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Schumacher helps launch road safety initiative 07 Apr 2004

Race winner Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari F2004 in the press conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Race Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 4 April 2004

Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher was in Dublin on Tuesday to support the launch of Europe’s Road Safety Charter, on the eve of the first global day of action on road safety – World Health Day 2004.

The six times Formula One World Champion joined forces with the FIA Foundation and transport ministers from across the European Union (EU) at a signing ceremony for the initiative, which was organised as part of the Irish Presidency of the EU.

Along with FIA President Max Mosley, Schumacher was a key note speaker at Dublin Castle for the launch of the Charter, which calls on governments, companies and organisations across the EU to make a firm and measurable commitment to improve road safety. The EU has a target of reducing road deaths by 50% by 2010.

“Road safety is a vital concern for everyone. As a professional racing driver I demand and expect the highest possible safety standards in my racing car and on the track,” said Schumacher. “We should all expect the same attention to safety in our cars and on the roads. Initiatives like the European Road Safety Charter and World Health Day are important because they can raise the profile of road safety and help to improve safety standards.

“As a racing driver I am extremely concerned about safety - not only on the race track, but also on the road. I would not dream of starting a race without my seat belt securely fastened, or of starting my car without checking first that everybody travelling with me was safe. It only takes a few conscious steps; a few seconds thought and action, to ensure the highest possible safety in a car.”

Mosley commented: “The European Road Safety Charter is a welcome initiative, but it takes more than signing a piece of paper to show that you are serious about road safety. Everyone, from the European Commission and national governments to individual drivers must prove with actions that they want to reduce the toll of deaths on our roads.

“At European level we do need more focus on road safety, with a dedicated road safety Commissioner concentrating on road safety every hour of every day. In France road deaths have fallen by 20% in one year because President Chirac decided to take road safety seriously. Most road deaths are preventable. Thousands of people are being killed unnecessarily and we must have the political will to stop it.”

Road traffic deaths and injuries have fallen in all EU member states over recent years, but it is feared that the entry of 10 new countries could threaten to halt the downward trend.