Monday, 22 December 2008

Drinking and driving

Drinking and driving. Somehow the two activities seem to be inextricably linked here, even though the laws against drunken driving were tightened up at the beginning of the year (look here for more information). Here's my translation of a recent article I found here.

459 drunken drivers caught in 1 week

In one week, police officers tested the sobriety of 39,397 drivers. A total of 459 drunken drivers were caught. The police department announced that 331 drivers were mildly intoxicated [.41–1.5 permille], 143 had a medium degree of intoxication [1.51–2.5 permille], and 48 were seriously intoxicated [>2.51 permille].

In Lithuania, as in many other European countries, the police organized a special campaign to test the sobriety of drivers on 8–14 December.

The initiator of this campaign was the European Traffic Police Network (TISPOL).

The most drunken drivers were found in Kaunas County (88), Panevezys County (55), Vilnius County (53), and Siauliai County (51).

During a similar campaign that took place in Lithuania in December last year (10–16), 518 drunken drivers were caught.

During another campaign that was organized by TISPOL and took place on 2–8 June, police caught 491 drunken drivers.

In the first 11 months of this year, 469 traffic accidents were caused by drunken drivers, 38.3% (or 291 accidents) fewer than the amount that were caused by drunken drivers in that time period of the preceding year. That amounts to 10.4% of all registered automobile accidents in which people are injured. Of the accidents caused by intoxicated drivers, 42 people lost their lives (29 fewer [than in 2007]) and 709 were injured (445 fewer [than in 2007]).

Tuesday, 16 December 2008


There seems to be a lot of mindless, pointless vandalism like this ( to see the photos) going on here. I just don't get it. The article's old, but anyway here's my translation of (most of) it:

Record number of bus stops destroyed over weekend (80)

In the capital [Vilnius] Mon
day morning, people driving by Cathedral Square on their way to work could see signs of vandalism at public transport stops--broken glass and a nearby telephone booth completely destroyed.

Similar scenes could be seen at Opera stop on Gostauto Street--broken glass and a broken frame.

According to Vadimas Komarskis, advertising manager for JC Decaux, the firm that takes care of the stops, every Monday it is necessary to repair more than a dozen stops that have been vandalized over the weekend.

"I'm not talking about the scribbling and graffiti that is hard to remove. What I have in mind is the serious vandalism, when glass is broken and the frames are bent", Komarskis said. "Just the glass costs about LTL 200 (EUR 58/USD 79), and that's not including the costs of labor and transport. Fixing up one of those stops is an expensive proposition."

According to Komarskis, it is really difficult to break the glass at the stops. "There's no way you could break it with your fist. A brick is needed. That's good tempered safety glass, so that it will not break easily and injure people waiting at the stop."

From 10 to 20 stops are seriously vandalized over an average weekend. There are 415 public transport stops in the city.

The firm buys glass and parts in advance and is not afraid that it will run out of spare parts.

Komarkis said that the stops in outlying parts of the city where there are fewer police patrolling are constantly being vandalized. "But on the weekends the entire city is a risk zone. Drunken people leave bars and begin vandalizing things. So, we're forced to clean up their mess."

According to Liucija Boreseviciene, the head of the 3rd Police Precinct in Vilnius, it isn't often that the police are informed about such incidents of vandalism. "In September only one such incident was reported by a passer-by", the official said.