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Lower but More Fines Prevent Accidents on the Road

05 July 2014 / 22:07:33  GRReporter
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Greek drivers want ... their traffic policemen back. The strong presence of the latter and higher fines for violations committed by non-conforming drivers, has led to fewer accidents. The places where the number of traffic policemen is insufficient are characterised by many accidents, some of them often lethal. Parallel with that, because of the economic crisis, there is an increased number of uninsured vehicles or of ones that have not passed an annual vehicle inspection. These are the results of the study conducted on Crete by the Polytechnic.
Information from Last Year:
The study entitled "Evaluation of Traffic Police Officers from the Regional Offices in Greece for 2013" was conducted by Konstantios Zopounidis, a professor at the Polytechnic, and Michael Nikolarakis, a PhD student at the Polytechnic.
The results are supported by data collected last year on road accidents and victims, combined with the violations committed in terms of regions that are analysed based on the population of each region, the number and type of vehicles as well as on the length of the road network.
The data proves that regarding dangerous disorders which are a major cause of accidents, there is a small decrease of 2.9% in comparison to 2012; in terms of minor violations (not using helmets, seat belts, talking on a mobile phone), an increase of 19.2% is noted, which also holds true regarding offences such as insurance, annual vehicle inspection, worn tyres -  with an increase of 12.5 percent. Regarding the latter type of violations in particular, it has been noted that many drivers cannot pay the price related to exercising control, as happens with mandatory insurance.
According to Nikolarakis, the study shows that the combination of more frequent police checks on the roads and more recorded offences can lead to fewer accidents. He gives the example of the Netherlands, where the increased number of fines has led to a reduction of accidents.
It is emphasised that monitoring motorways with cameras, as is done abroad, can also lead to significant results, because the drivers will think that each violation they make can be recorded at any moment and therefore will be more careful.
Dangerous Laws:
The study data shows that the region of Piraeus is the "champion" both in terms of the number of traffic policemen and in low risk of accidents (35th place). 
The other places charecterised by a "high performance" criterion, based on violations recorded, are occupied by Etoloakarnania, Kirintia Rethymno, Arcadia, Viotia. 
According to the researchers, the regions maintaining balance between registered violations and accidents are Kilkis, Drama, Trikala, Corfu, Argolis and Evros. Performance is low in Xanthi, Pella, Chios, Kabbalah, Evia and Irkalio.
Attica ranks in the "high performance" category, whereas Thessaloniki scores an average result.
Road Safety in the Positive:
In the study comments, it is highlighted that in 2013, the results regarding road safety are generally positive. There is a reduction of all accident categories and a bigger police presence is noted hroughout the country.
It is also noted that there is an increased risk for motorists driving in tourist areas: the Ionian Islands and the Dodecanese, for example, during the summer period, and it is suggested that the authorities in charge should inform drivers by means of leaflets or signs. As noted by the study researchers, in the summer, these regions are characterised by an increased number of tourists and often uncontrollable driving combined with the lack of traffic police, which leads to accidents.
The study also shows that some areas require exceptional measures and police presence is hardly enough. If this is due to reduced number of employees, then changes must be implemented immediately.
The study concludes that with a little effort, coordination and more actions, the number of victims caused by road accidents can be reduced to less than 500 in 2015.


Tags: Accidents on the Road traffic policemen Greek drivers monitoring motorways with cameras uninsured vehicles
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