This month we have a very unfavorable traffic safety situation. The accidents killed 43 people, which is 15 people more than last year.
We even had two days (November 13 and 24) with five deaths each, and three days (November 8, 14 and 21) with three deaths each. I appeal to all traffic participants, especially pedestrians, of whom 10 died in 25 days this month, not to allow them to become part of black statistics by irresponsible behavior in traffic.
This, for the first time for the public, in an interview for “Večernje novosti”, was said by the Chief of the Traffic Police Administration of the Ministry of the Interior of Serbia, Police Colonel Slaviša Lakićević. He also states that despite these unfavorable tendencies, this year has shown that together we can reduce the number of deaths on Serbian roads:
– In the first 10 months of this year, a total of 28,226 traffic accidents occurred on the roads in Serbia, in which 403 people died, 2,728 suffered severe and 13,631 minor injuries. Compared to last year, we have an increase, but that is also understandable, because in 2020 we had a lower traffic intensity due to the coronary virus pandemic. A total of 492 people were killed last year. What is important is that the trend of decreasing the number of deaths in the last five years has been maintained.
Who are the most common victims in traffic accidents?
– In traffic accidents, our older fellow citizens, older than 65, most often die as pedestrians. During this year, unfortunately, 121 people lost their lives. Young people, between 15 and 30, are also a category that suffers in traffic accidents, and since the beginning of this year, 74 of them have lost their lives. Compared to last year, the number of victims in this category of the population is lower by 17%, but that is still worrying.
Why do young people die so much?
Young people are more prone to committing the most serious offenses, such as driving under the influence of passive substances. Statistics show that almost 70 percent of the perpetrators of these traffic violations are under the age of 30. They are a category to which the European Commission pays additional attention, because they are one of the most endangered categories of traffic participants.
What is the safety of children in traffic?
– When it comes to the youngest, we are not satisfied, because in our country, ten children die in traffic accidents every year. This year is no exception. In the first ten months, seven of them died. What is symptomatic is that two thirds of the dead are passengers in cars, because their parents do not drive them in the legally prescribed manner.
The results of the research of the Traffic Safety Agency show that only 50 percent of parents transport their children in the prescribed manner, which is devastating, and that is why I appeal to them to put the safety of their children in the car first and to drive them in the prescribed manner.
How to avoid the suffering of the youngest?
– In the next period, the Ministry of the Interior will continue with the education of children in schools and preschool institutions, as well as measures of enhanced traffic control in the school zone. But, in order to achieve the goal from the Traffic Safety Strategy, so that no child dies, it is necessary to fully involve all subjects of traffic safety, and it is no coincidence that the Law puts parents first.
What are the causes of traffic accidents?
– Speed is still the most common cause, and those of the most serious traffic accidents. Speeding took almost half of the dead. That is why one of the priorities of the traffic police is to detect these violations. In the first 10 months of this year, more than 250,000 drivers were fined for that, which is an increase of almost 22 percent compared to last year.
I would like to remind you that we measure speed with hand-held radars, radars, video surveillance systems and speed measuring devices in “interceptors”, while on motorways, the average speed is also measured.
How much do drunk drivers “sponsor” suffering on Serbian roads?
– Alcohol is one of the biggest problems of traffic safety on a global level.
The kovid pandemic exacerbated this. During the last year and this year, we have an increased number of traffic accidents in which drivers under the influence of alcohol participate. Drunk drivers took part in every fifth traffic accident with the dead. One of the tasks of the traffic police in the coming period will be to detect such drivers, as well as those who drive under the influence of narcotics.
What are the numbers when it comes to this type of driver?
– In the first 10 months of this year, almost 40,000 drivers who got behind the wheel in an alcoholic state were excluded from traffic, which is 10 percent more than in the same period last year. Of this number, 7,000 were kept on trial, because they were driving a vehicle with more than 1.20 per mille. Every traffic control in the future will include a mandatory alcohol test. Additional procurement of narcotics detection devices is underway and controls have been intensified. Since the beginning of the year, more than 1,200 drivers have been excluded from traffic due to driving under the influence of narcotics, two and a half times more than in 2020.
When it comes to statistics, what else is the cause of traffic accidents?
– In other European countries, driving under the influence of narcotics is on the rise, so it can be expected in our country as well. It is mostly about young drivers, and it is a problem that is slowly growing into one of the biggest when it comes to traffic safety, with speed, alcohol, not using a seat belt and improper use of a mobile phone while driving.
This year you had a lot of actions with ROUDPOL (European Traffic Police Network). What are the results?
– We participated in nine actions within ROUDPOL, which were done simultaneously in 30 European countries. They were focused on speed control, use of seat belts and child protection systems, control of alcohol and psychoactive substances, control of buses and trucks. We also had two more actions of intensified control, which were carried out by the Traffic Police Administration independently.
What are the conclusions?
– What characterizes them is the maximum presence of the traffic police on the ground and the engagement of all available resources for traffic control, which in combination with adequate media reporting, as a rule gives good results and affects the improvement of the security situation. The latest action was carried out last weekend, which confirmed that a large number of our citizens are committing traffic violations. In just three days, we discovered 8,103 speeding offenses, 923 drunk drivers were excluded from traffic, and 20 of them were behind the wheel of a village under the influence of narcotics. As many as 188 of them were kept on sobering because they had more than 1.2 per mille, and 29 were in a state of complete alcoholism with more than 2.00 per mille in their blood.
When do drivers least care about regulations?
– The situation usually worsens on weekends and on religious and state holidays. Once again, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that we have a very poor traffic safety situation since the beginning of this month. Considering that the next period will be marked by a large number of religious holidays, as well as the beginning of the winter season, the New Year is approaching, a greater degree of responsibility of all citizens is necessary.
What is necessary to improve traffic safety on Serbian roads?
– The main strategic commitment of the traffic police in the coming period is the maximum detection of driving violations under the influence of alcohol and psychoactive substances. It is also planned to increase the number of devices for automatic detection of violations, ie the number of cameras. For example, the Netherlands has 10,000 cameras for detecting traffic violations, and Serbia 35. That will change very soon. It is also planned through preventive campaigns with the Traffic Safety Agency to raise the awareness of citizens about respecting traffic regulations.
The state is also engaged in solving the problem …
– The Government of Serbia has formed the Body for Coordination of Traffic Safety on Roads, which consists of the Ministers of Internal Affairs, Transport, Health, Labor, Education, Justice and Trade, as well as the Director of the Agency for Traffic Safety. As part of the Coordination Body, a Traffic Safety Strategy is being prepared, which will cover a five-year period (2022-2027), as well as an Action Plan for the implementation of the strategy, which will systematize measures to improve road safety in Serbia.
What does the new national strategy bring and when will it be adopted?
– It will be adopted by the end of this year. It is an umbrella document, which is adopted in five years and in which projections are given of what needs to be done in order to increase traffic safety. In addition, the drafting of a new Law on Road Traffic Safety is also planned. This will be discussed next year.
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1.35 MILLION PEOPLE SUFFER IN THE WORLD FOR A YEAR
Where is Serbia in relation to the world?
– According to the data of the United Nations and the World Health Organization, 1,350,000 people die in traffic accidents in the world every year, and traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for people under 29 years of age. In the Republic of Serbia, an average of 552 people have died in traffic accidents in the last five years. For the sake of comparison, when it comes to traffic safety, Serbia is at the level at which the EU was 10 years ago, and we have an obligation and plans to get as close as possible to the most developed European countries. The EU average last year was 42 per million inhabitants, and in our country 71.
Which country has the best statistics when it comes to traffic accidents?
– In Europe, Norway is the country with the lowest number of deaths per million inhabitants. How successful their traffic safety system is is also shown by the fact that in 2019, only one traffic participant was killed in Oslo, and that no person under the age of 16 was killed on the territory of the entire country.
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