Poland takes steps to improve road safety record – gov’t officials
January 10, 2013
Interior Minister Jacek Cichocki and Transport Minister Slawomir Nowak
The Polish government aims to cut the country’s road fatalities by 50% to 2020 and serious injuries from road accidents by 40% as it implements a new program of road safety focused on road infrastructure, Transport Minister Slawomir Nowak and Interior Minister Jacek Cichocki told a news conference on Wednesday.
The program, to be implemented later this year, envisages also toughening the country's driving regulations, increasing the penalties for speeding and improving law enforcement.
Poland’s road safety improved significantly last year and the country enjoyed a 15.4% decline in road deaths to a record low 3,544. The total count of road accidents fell 8.2% year on year to 36,762. However, Poland’s road-mortality rates remain among the highest in Europe: one in five EU pedestrian fatalities are Polish, the ministers said.
The cost of a year's accidents exceeds PLN 20 billion, including medical costs, pensions for families of victims and lost workers. Cichocki said.
The new program has been built on the four E's of engineering, education, enforcement and emergency, but officials expect the biggest benefits from new road construction.
The gov’t now plans to complete 800 kilometers of new expressways and highways by 2015 at a cost of PLN 18 billion just in 2013 already. Some 6,000 kilometers of local roads are up for redoing in the period, Nowak said.
About PLN 500 million zlotys will be invested in road renovations this year. Because nearly half of all incidents are caused by speeding, the country's road sign system will be improved and police controls stepped up, including using cameras to catch speeders.