Poland's first road safety programme was developed in 1972. The Council of Ministers passed a resolution setting out the measures and resources for improving Poland's road safety. The objective was to "ensure safety and order on public roads and reduce and mitigate the effects of road accidents". The Programme failed, because the increasing risk was wrongly believed to be the inevitable result of growing motorisation.
In 1992 a group of World Bank experts produced a report on Poland's road safety, which claimed that road safety can be improved, if systemic action was undertaken. The Polish Government acknowledged the experts' report, called the Gerondeau report, and took appropriate decisions. In 1993 the National Road Safety Council was established at the central level. It comprised representatives of government departments and central bodies, voluntary organisations and experts. At the regional level Regional Road Safety Councils were appointed.
A year later the Transport Minister commissioned the Scientific Research Committee to develop a research project Integrated Road Safety Programme, which was given the acronym GAMBIT. The Programme set out the next five years' targets and objectives. Although not all of them could be realised, the work itself was beneficial to the overall goal of road safety.
The establishment of the National and Regional Road Safety Councils helped raise road safety awareness. Several regional road safety programmes were developed in Gdansk, Elblag, Katowice, Suwalki and Warsaw, setting the scene for regional action. But the change of the country's administrative structure, which took effect on 1 January 1999, meant that similar changes had to be made to how road safety was managed.
In 2000 a revised GAMBIT 2000 was developed. It was adopted by the Council of Ministers in May 2001 and published as the Government's 2001-2010 policy. The Programme's strategic goal was to reduce the annual number of killed to 4 000 in 2010, to less than 10 fatalities per 100 000 population, which is equivalent to the EU15's average.
In May 2004 Poland joined the European Union, which set an ambitious goal for its members: to halve the number of deaths within the next decade. Poland took the challenge and in April 2005 the Council of Ministers adopted the new GAMBIT 2005 as the 2005-2007-2013 National Road Safety Programme.
Main goal: To reduce by 2013 the number of road deaths by 50% compared to 2003, i.e. not more than 2 800 people killed annually.
- to build a basis for an effective and long-term road safety policy;
- to develop safe road user behaviour;
- to protect pedestrians, children and cyclists;
- to build and maintain safe road infrastructure;
- to reduce accident severity.
This ambitious goal calls for a number of comprehensive, intensified, effective and integrated efforts across the country. But because not all the schemes can be run at the same time, due to the resources required, the strategy is also divided into objectives, based on which priority areas were identified. There are five objectives by 2013, divided into 15 priorities, each comprising several to more than a dozen actions. The majority of the priorities use a system-based approach to solving road safety problems, with action undertaken in several sectors (e.g. education, traffic law enforcement, engineering and emergency services). This is because combined action is more beneficial than the sum of individual independent actions. A system-based approach to solving road safety problems must be operated within a transparent system management model, with legal, organisational and financial regulations, rules for how organisations, institutions and individuals should work together to improve road safety.
Gambit 2005 is the international programme. One of the Gambit 2005 programme task is to support by Regional Road Safety Councils the establishment of regional (voivodeship and district) road safety programmes.
Projects are implemented within regional programmes (for example: seatbelt campaigns, young drivers campaigns, drink-driving campaigns, speeding campaigns etc; road safety related training for teachers, police, municipalities; road safety related improving of road infrastructure).
Sector programmes are also established (for example road safety programme for national roads).