Stagnant crash statistics derail France’s stellar safety gains. Russian roads are safer. Another poignant picture from Kyiv. A flying car and drive-in police station debut in France, driver error blamed for Saimaa tragedy and truckers go to extreme lengths at the Fernetti crossing.
FRENCH CRASH STATS STAGNANT
Where will the big gains come from this year? Road deaths stay the same but big rise in injuries.
FRANCE. Despite an onerous and publicly declared target this year the number of road deaths in January was just one down on the same month in 2013.
Meanwhile the number of people injured grew by 10.6%. Those needing hospital stays of over 24 hours jumped by 12.8%.
Securite Routiere says the mild winter weather saw more people take to ‘powered two-wheelers’. Mopeds and motorbikes both saw rises in the number of fatalities, as did trucks, though fewer people died in car crashes.
In line a target to reduce deaths from 3,250 last year to ‘under 2,000 by 2020’, fatalities fell by 11.2% in 2013 amid a crackdown on speeding. Big gains made early in the year however tailed off.
Question remain over how the authorities will respond. Current plans include the rollout of two-way unmarked camera cars on main roads, possibly reducing the national speed limit and a series of road safety films from famous directors (above – see the second episode here).
Conspicuously absent is a strategy to deal with motorbike accidents. Having achieved significant success with cars it remains to be seen whether police will bear down even more heavily on drivers.
RUSSIA. New figures say 27,025 people were killed on the roads last year, 3.5% less than 2012. The number of accidents rose by 0.2% to 204,068 while the number of injured fell by 0.1% to 258,437. A quarter of deaths are caused by speeding and another quarter by driving into oncoming traffic and not observing rules at crossroads. The biggest gain was child pedestrian fatalities, down 15%.
roundup: CARS. A flying car is due to take off in Strasbourg in 2015. The Vaylon Pegasis is a buggy/microlight hybrid and will sell for €100,000. See www.vaylon.eu for more. FRANCE. The first drive-in police station is due to open, in Le Cannet near Cannes. Developed from a disabled access project and will operate 24 hours per day. RUSSIA. Summer tyres, speeding and driving in the wrong lane were responsible says investigators for the crash on Saturday, along the Saimaa Canal near Vyborg, when ten people died. It was initially alleged that poor road maintenance, on land leased by Finland, was to blame. ITALY. Turkish truck drivers are installing satellite dishes to help kill time at the Fernetti transit station on the Slovene border. Trucks wait for up to five days to board trains to avoid restricted access via Austria. Meanwhile, the nominated justice minister in the new Renzi government lost his driving licence in 2010 for drink driving (via @NewsFromItaly).