There are a horrifying number of apparently drunk drivers in Europe though numbers are falling says a recent police campaign.
Also, EU money for better roads at the Hungarian Sea, and cross-border Slovakia-Poland. The defunct UK-Denmark ferry could have gone much faster alleges a former customer. And, a roundup from France: fake highways cops caught near Paris; new ‘save roadside trees’ video; and, new dummy speed cameras installed in Nord Pas de Calais.
MORE THAN FOUR MILLION DRUNK DRIVERS IN EUROPE
Though proportion of offences falls in latest cross-Europe DUI campaign.
Believe it or not but the 15,791 drink drivers detected during a cross-Europe police operation in December was actually good news.
It represents a lower proportion of offences than previous campaigns organised by TISPOL, the European police federation.
TISPOL General Secretary Ruth Purdie says, ‘These figures show a continued decline in the proportion of drivers who fail breath tests, which is good news.
However, if we scale up that proportion to include all the 300 million licence holders across Europe, then we reach an estimate of more than four million drink-drivers.’
Officers conducted 1,134,924 tests in 27 countries from 7-13 December last year with a detection rate of 1.39%.
Interestingly, that is considerably lower than a similar operation in the UK last year which found 5% of drivers in England, 3% in Scotland and 2.6% in Wales tested positive according to Road Safety GB.
However, that is down to better targeting says the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
It comes as the British government considers bringing the UK drink drive limit into line with Scotland and most other members of the EU reports the RAC Foundation*.
Despite having among the safest roads in the world, the UK has the highest limit at 0.8mg per 100ml of blood.
In Europe it is equalled only by Malta (which, incidentally, had the very lowest road deaths per million inhabitants in the EU in 2014).
The default European limit for non-professional drivers is 0.5 though Lithuania is 0.4 and Estonia, Finland, Poland and Sweden are 0.2 according to the EU Going Abroad app.
Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia have a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to drink driving.
* the DfT told the BBC later on it had ‘no plans’ to lower UK drink drive limits.
roundup: SCANDINAVIA FERRY. Interesting quote from a food importer and former user of the now defunct Harwich-Esbjerg ferry in The Copenhagen Post this week. Dave Darlington says, ‘The journey was 19 hours long. They could have made the distance in something closer to 12, but it was conveniently timed to start just before dinner and finish just after lunch. You can drive a long way in 19 hours.’ The Post was writing about a campaign to have a UK-Denmark service reinstated. Since DFDS withdrew the Esbjerg service in September 2014, the UK has been without a Scandinavia ferry link. The firm blamed declining passenger numbers, the change in Duty Free laws and, pointedly, incoming low-sulphur fuel regulations which increased costs. FRANCE. Police Nationale have finally tracked down a ‘fake cop’ gang who preyed on drivers in the Yvelines region to the west of Paris, first reported last May. The force helpfully also tweeted a photo of a genuine police identification card… Campaign group 40 Millions d’Automobilistes have released a video saying new crash barriers would be a better than cutting down the characteristic avenues of trees running along rural roads. Research last year said accidents with trees were involved in nearly 10% of road deaths. It was proposed to cut down trees at accident hot spots though no action has been taken yet… The first ‘dummy radars’ have been installed along a road in Nord Pas de Calais, northern France. Both new portable radars and decoys have been installed along a 37km stretch of the D939 around Berles-Monchel west of Arras, the site of six fatalities and 28 serious injuries in the past five years according to Securite Routiere. The idea is to prevent drivers from suddenly braking or accelerating at radar sites. By the end of this year, 100 hotspot routes will have 500 similar cameras installed and 1000 routes with 5000 cameras by 2020.