Driving the point home / News / The Foreigner

Driving the point home. New report reveals alarming increase in accident statistics. According to a recent report from the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA/Statens vegvesen), over 1,100 people have been killed on Norwegian roads in the past four years.Who’s responsible? The Centre Party’s (Sp) minister of transport and communications – Magnhild Meltveit Kleppa – thinks that reducing the number of accidents is not just a job for the government. Yesterday, she told NRK that the motorist should also take their share of responsibility.

kari, sandberg, trygg, trafikk, norwegian, council, road, safety, nils, soedal, naf, automobile, federation, roads, accidents, government, responsibility, magnhild, meltveit, kleppa, centre, party, sp



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Driving the point home

Published on Tuesday, 24th November, 2009 at 10:24 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 24th November 2009 at 16:41.

New report reveals alarming increase in accident statistics.

A Norwegian ambulance (illustration photo)
A Norwegian ambulance (illustration photo)
Photo: © 2007 J. P. Fagerback/Wikimedia Commons


According to a recent report from the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA/Statens vegvesen), over 1,100 people have been killed on Norwegian roads in the past four years.

Who’s responsible?

The Centre Party’s (Sp) minister of transport and communications – Magnhild Meltveit Kleppa – thinks that reducing the number of accidents is not just a job for the government. Yesterday, she told NRK that the motorist should also take their share of responsibility.

Bård Hoksrud, the Progress Party’s (FrP) transport spokesman disagrees, saying that he believes her view to be typical of how the government has avoided its responsibilities for the past four years.

“It’s like saying that you’re accountable for everything that happens as a motorist.”

Road standard

Results of the Global Competitiveness Report of 2008-2009 drawn up by the World Economic Forum have shown that Norwegian roads are in a worse state of repair than those in Greece.

“There are many poorly-maintained roads. To help reduce the number of accidents there should be both traffic dividers in the middle, and better cleaning of debris near the roads, such as rocks, leaves, and trees,” Nils Sødal, acting head of communications for the Norwegian Automobile Federation (NAF) tells The Foreigner.

Worst amongst the young

Kari Sandberg, Trygg Trafikk
Kari Sandberg, Trygg Trafikk
Trygg Trafikk
But whilst road improvements were part of measures announced when the government released its National Transport Plan just over eight months ago, the NPRA’s report shows that those who come off the road has surpassed the number of head-on collisions for the first time in four years.

According to Kari Sandberg, director of the Norwegian Council for Road Safety (Trygg Trafikk), youths account for the highest number of these types of accidents. Half of them involve high speed.

“The number of fatal accidents increased by 77% last year, with 71 young people between 16 and 25 being killed. Although this group makes up only 10% of the total number of motorists, they account for 25% of the accidents. Many of these fatalities – especially in the case of young men, who are high risk-takers – can be attributed to not having worn their seat belt.”

Sandberg says the NPRA is currently running a campaign against speeding.

“Ten kilometres per hour above the speed limit can be dangerous. In order for this to succeed, we need to work on both informing and educating the public. We also have to change motorists’ attitudes to speeding, and make sure that the police have an adequate number of speed controls.”

There are also other factors.

“Accidents occur as a result of a combination of three things: the driver, the road-standard – including maintenance, especially during the winter season – and the vehicle. There are too many old cars around. To solve this, taxes on new cars should also be brought down to EU levels, making them easier to afford,” says Sødal.

Education

Nils Sødal, NAF
Nils Sødal, NAF
Nils Sødal
Both Nils Sødal and Kari Sandberg would like to see better driver-training for young people to help reduce the number of fatal accidents.                              

“We have to start educating children in schools how they should act in traffic as a pedestrian, driver, and cyclist as soon as possible,” Sødal says.

The Norwegian Government has a national action plan targeted towards all areas of traffic safety – called “Vision Zero” –– and Trygg Trafikk does, amongst other things, run for educational staff in schools and kindergartens.

“We have training courses for school teachers and university lecturers where they get to participate themselves. When the teacher is responsible for teaching traffic safety, it gives better results than if we were to use external consultants. We must learn to understand why young people run such high risks as drivers and passengers,” says Sandberg.

She also thinks motorists need to be reminded of their responsibilities when out on the road.

“People tend to think that they can do what they like when they drive their own car.”



Published on Tuesday, 24th November, 2009 at 10:24 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 24th November 2009 at 16:41.

This post has the following tags: kari, sandberg, trygg, trafikk, norwegian, council, road, safety, nils, soedal, naf, automobile, federation, roads, accidents, government, responsibility, magnhild, meltveit, kleppa, centre, party, sp.





  
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