Car accidents take most peoples lives in Greece
Many civic organizations consider car accidents in Greece to be the first cause that takes the lives of people aged between 18 and 44 years The number of victims on the road has reached the population of a big city over the past 50 years, and the number of injured equals the current population of Thessaloniki. There were 150,000 victims and a million and a half wounded in the years from 1965 to 2008. Each year 3650 people lose their lives, the injured are more than 10000 and about 2500 children are with permanent disabilities due to car accidents in the country. Civic organizations of keen cyclists in Athens held a "black" procession in black clothes in memory of the victims of car accidents.
Andreas Kordolemis Commander at the Traffic Police Department at the Ministry for Citizens Protection could not confirm for GRReporter whether car accidents actually are the first reason for most of the Greeks to lose their lives but provided us with statistics from the beginning of the year to the end of October. The car accidents registered in this period are 12,758 in which there were 1,081 victims, 1,493 seriously injured and 14,535 slightly injured.
The commander said that most of the accidents happen during the summer months, especially in August and on weekends between 5:00 pm 4:00 am, the peak being between midnight and the early morning hours. Half of the total number of victims are in active age - from 26 to 45 years. Traffic police statistics shows that the main causes of accidents are excessive speed, careless driving, traffic in the opposite lane, non-compliance with the right of way rules at cross-roads and driving after drinking, but to a significantly lesser degree. According to the commander, a large number of cars roll off the roadway was registered in recent years, which is entirely due to drivers inattention. Traffic Police data show that more than half of the accidents happen with cars, and 36% - with motorcycles. They said from the traffic Police that there is a small decrease for the same period this year compared to last year, but the figures still remain high.
The traffic police commander presented three of the measures that apply to the prevention of car accidents, especially in large urban centres where a large number of inhabitants are concentrated. A class in traffic regulations has been introduced for the first time this year in the small grades of primary schools, municipalities are repairing the streets by extending the sidewalks to facilitate pedestrians movement and traffic police carry out checks on buses and trucks on their technical condition. At the same time, an information campaign is running on the national and local TV channels which sends social messages about safety traffic rules and in holiday periods, when people leave the cities in a mass, the police distributes leaflets with similar contents.
According to Commander Kordolemis, most of the fatal accidents are due to aggressive driving, and inattention. He stressed that the rules must be strictly observed by both the drivers and the pedestrians and urged people in large urban centres to use public transport more often and personal cars rarely. Moreover, as he mentioned, bicycle lanes will be built in many of the major Greek cities which will facilitate and potentially increase the fans of this so environmental and social way of moving.