Greece has the highest percentage of traffic accidents in Europe. Although fewer than 600 people are estimated to have lost their lives in traffic accidents in Greece in 2014, a smaller number compared to previous years, Greece continues to maintain one of the highest rates of fatal accidents in Europe, according to evidence presented in a conference, organized by the Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace and the Transport Institute of the National Center for Research and Technological Development.
Especially as the Head of Traffic Police of Thessaloniki, Brigadier General Theodore Tyrekidis, mentioned ten years ago, every year, we had about 2,500 deaths from traffic accidents. In 2013 we had under 800 and for 2014 it is expected to be below 600. With regard to the Prefecture of Thessaloniki, he noted, that in the eleven months of 2014 51 deaths were recorded from road traffic (in 2013 there were 59), from which 30% are due to accidents with pedestrians run over by motorcycles.
Referring to the human and social costs of road accidents, Mr Tyrekidis pointed out that "traffic accidents, it is estimated, are the third cause of death, after heart disease and cancer."
The Professor of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Director of the Laboratory of Technical Engineering Ms Magda Pitsiava – Latinopoulou, stressed that Greece together with Romania, Poland, and Latvia they have the highest accident rates in Europe.
Ms Pitsiava added that road deaths globally amount to 1.24 million and 50 million people are injured, while in Europe, deaths from car accidents amount to 40,000 and the injured to 1.7 million. Their economic cost in addition to human lives is the 2% of European GDP. Citing evidence of 2012, she reported that the dead by traffic accidents in our country were just under one thousand while over twelve thousand people were wounded.
She stressed that despite the efforts that have been made "we are still at a low level of road safety education".
Drinking and driving
What has also decreased significantly during the last decade is the percentage of those identified to drive under the influence of alcohol.
As the Research Director of the Transport Institute of the National Center for Research and Technological Development Mr. Evangelos Bekiaris, said, until 1998, police checks revealed a rate of approximately 7% offenders drivers who were under the influence of alcohol. In the period 1998-2004 awareness of the bad effects of driving after drinking alcohol, was intensified through campaigns, informational material, videos, etc. while traffic controls were tripled in percentage.
The percentage of drivers under the influence of alcohol after 2004 is around 3-3.5%, despite the fact that we now have a lot more checks, stressed Mr. Bekiaris.
Other factors causing road accidents
All speakers agreed, that for traffic accidents the responsible is overwhelmingly versus other factors the human factor, followed by others, such as the condition of the road network, the status of the vehicle, etc.
A 5% reduction in speed means 30% less possibilities of an accident, the use of belts results to 50% reduction for those sitting in front and 75% for the passengers in the back seats in relation to the non-use, Ms. Pitsiava stressed, underscoring also the importance of the use of motorcycle helmets.
Also according to her a 25-30% of accidents are due to driver's distraction, which can come from using a mobile phone while driving.
Source ABE, http://www.naftemporiki.gr