Over the past several days, I've found a couple of articles with statistics that allow me to be hopeful that the "war on the roads" [see my 3 March post] here in Lithuania is actually being won by the good guys. So here are my translations of the articles.
Almost 400 Offending Drivers Arrested in January–March
The stricter traffic laws [see comments from my 28 March post] that came into force in January have been personally experienced by 375 drivers who spent time in jail for especially serious offences. A new part of the traffic laws--automobile confiscation--was invoked for the owners of 45 automobiles in the first three months of this year.
The police are pleased since they feel that the stricter penalties for drinking and driving and for speeding are discouraging others from breaking the law. In the opinion of Stanislovas Liutkevicius, secretary at the Ministry of the Interior, this improvement in the situation on the roads of Lithuania may allow the country to halve the number of deaths caused by traffic accidents by 2010, something the European Commission has obligated Lithuania to do.
In the first quarter of this year, 1157 traffic accidents in which people were injured took place, 13.1 percent fewer accidents than took place in this period of the preceding year. In those accidents, 1400 were injured.
Compared to the first three months of 2007, the number of accidents caused by drunken drivers dropped 35.6 percent and the number caused by people who were driving without a licence went down 40 percent.
This year the police have apprehended an average of 600 drunken drivers every month. This figure stood at 2500 per month in the past year.
According the the number of people killed in traffic accidents, Lithuania continues to be the most dangerous place in the European Union, however.
Promising Statistics for Safe Traffic Day
As Safe Traffic Day [April 6] is being celebrated in Lithuania, officials have expressed pleasure with the improving situation on the country's roads. In the first three months of the year, the number of deaths caused by traffic accidents has dropped by a fourth. Antantas Cereska, deputy director of the safe traffic department of the Lithuanian Road Administration, told Lithuanian Radio that this improvement has been caused by the higher fines for traffic offences and the attention that this problem has received from politicians and the media.
"The statistics from the first months of this year show that the situation on the roads is improving. The law, the police, teaching, and the press are all working together to make things better. Beginning in October, we plan to bring back the highway patrol [which earlier existed but for some reason was done away with some time ago]", Cereska said.
Despite the improvement in the statistics, the situation on the roads remains the worst in the European Union. According to data supplied by the police, the most common cause of accidents is speeding.
Every year it is the cause of about 1200 traffic accidents, in which about 200 people are killed and about 1500 are injured.
And as an alumnus of Kansas University, I cannot let this pass.
Way to go Hawks!