Czech Republic Falls Short of Road Safety Targets Despite Reduction in Fatalities

Prague, November 6, 2023 – The Czech Republic has witnessed a significant reduction in car accident fatalities and severe injuries between 2011 and 2022, with a 35.8% decrease in deaths and a 43.9% drop in severe injuries. Despite these positive trends, the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) has issued a stern warning that the set road safety targets are still not being met, raising concerns about public safety on Czech roads.

One of the key objectives was to halve the number of victims compared to the previous period. However, in 2020, the number of people who lost their lives in traffic accidents exceeded the target. The set goal was not to exceed 333 deaths, but a staggering 460 people tragically died on Czech roads that year, even amid reduced traffic and accident rates due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The primary strategic goal currently in place aims to further reduce road fatalities by half by 2030, compared to the average figures between 2017 and 2019, with a specific target of under 269 annual fatalities. The NKÚ’s report highlights that the current trajectory is not contributing to the achievement of this vital goal.

Additionally, the first quarter of this year saw no decline in road fatalities; in fact, it recorded the highest number since 2015, prompting auditors to express skepticism about reaching the 2030 targets.

Between 2011 and 2022, the Czech Republic mourned the loss of 6,803 lives due to accidents, while 28,821 individuals suffered severe injuries. In 2022 alone, 454 people lost their lives in accidents, and 1,734 experienced severe injuries. The economic losses stemming from these accidents in 2022 were estimated at 135 billion crowns, equivalent to approximately 2.2% of the domestic GDP.

The NKÚ’s report also delves into potential measures, such as mandating helmet-wearing for cyclists and the introduction of an alcolock, designed to prevent intoxicated individuals from operating a vehicle. However, the Ministry of Transport has rejected both proposals, despite their potential to significantly enhance road safety. For instance, calculations suggest that helmets could reduce fatal bicycle injuries by up to 65% and severe injuries by up to 69%. Nonetheless, between 2017 and 2022, 184 cyclists without helmets lost their lives in traffic accidents, underscoring the urgency of addressing road safety in the Czech Republic.

Article by Prague Forum

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