EFA – 2nd vice President Manuel
Picardi meets and interviews:
You are the President of CIECA for several years and no doubt, thanks to your contribution, the association is constantly expanding.
- Can you tell us what are the goals you intend to achieve in the coming years?Our goals derive from our strategy, which is being reviewed currently. CIECA is organising a strategy workshop for its members in October to help the board (Pemanent Bureau) to redefine the strategy. The final decision will be made by the next General Assembly in Madrid in June 2016. Our present strategy has been successful and I think we have achieved the goals that we set in Malta 2011. As the world around is changing rapidly we have to adjust our strategy on a regular basis. I don’t want to predict what our goals will be in detail, but I am sure that they are related to developments in technology like ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) and autonomous vehicles and also developments in society (like ageing and mobility and medical science).
- Your TAG are a clear example of how to “work together” for a mutual exchange of information on road safety. Do you think that in the future CIECA may create other such groups?We have two permanent working groups at the moment: TAG (Theory test advisory group) and EAG (Expert advisory group). Permanent groups are part of our organizational structure and they are defined in the statutes. Sustainability and organizational change is one of our strategic goals and we are constantly looking for new flexible operations models also in this area. One possibility is to start so called topical groups in addition to permanent groups. There has been interest for topics like medical fitness, traffic psychology and education. Meanwhile we must also recognise the limited human resources that we have and that working groups are not the only way to “work together”. Sometimes workshops or projects offer better results. We must find the ways that are cost efficient and most useful for all our members. Road User Education (RUE) –project is an excellent example of working together for mutual exchange of information and it indicated clearly how closely training and testing are linked.
- EFA and CIECA are closely linked, both working to contribute to the spread of a culture more sensitive to road safety. In the short term do you think it is possible to have a similar training model throughout Europe?I would like to use metaphor here. Think about making the best possible risotto or pasta. No matter how good the recipe is, the final result depends on the quality of the ingredients. And the quality of the ingredients depends on the season and the region where you are. So to make the best possible risotto in Finland this time of year I would probably use different ingredients than I would use in Italy.We have as many training models as different cuisines in Europe. They are all part of the local heritage and they are grown up as a result of a long historical development and they are adjusted to the local conditions and ingredients that are available.We created and collected together in the RUE-project a set of tools or ingredients that we think are the best in the world in the field of driver training at the moment. They are now published and are available for everyone who is interested. But even if we have the best collection of ingredients, I would not pour all of them into the same soup. This is where the true expertise is weighed up.Nevertheless, if you are talented you can combine your local ingredients with some foreign ingredients and end up with a perfect end result. I just made some absolutely delicious risotto using Italian rice, Italian white wine and Finnish mushrooms!
- The European Commission has recently issued a Tender for training in Europe. How close are we to a specific directive on driver training?Answering this question is clearly out of my competence as this is in the competence of the European Commission. I can only comment as an observer.
Education and training of road users still is one of the focus areas in the “EU road safety policy framework 2011-2020”. According to a recently published mid-term evaluation of the policy framework EU action in this focus area is “Education/ training strategy” and the state of play is “ongoing”.On the other hand Commission has a “Regulatory Fitness and Performance programme” (REFIT) which is aiming to make EU law simpler and to reduce regulatory costs. In connection to this programme even a number of pending legislative proposals from previous Commissions have been withdrawn on 7 March 2015. Some do not match the new Commission’s political priorities. In other cases, the Commission remains committed to the objectives but will propose new, better ways of achieving them.We will wait and see.
- One last question. In your recent Congress we have heard discussions about an aging population. Many drivers have obtained their driving license more than twenty years ago. There is talk of introducing a periodical medical check, but do you believe that it is also time to look at a refresher on the rules and practical driving?I think this question is very timely because of the rapid development of car technology. I think we should look at this together with all stakeholders like CIECA, EFA, CITA and the regulators like EU and UNECE.
Thank you very much,