EC report: only Latvia and Austria posting better road record than the Czech Republic

Photo: CTK

Over 34,000 people have died on Czech roads since 1980. Despite numerous transport ministry and traffic police projects, the number of deaths and injuries is still over a thousand a year. But a points system that was introduced in July appears to be making a difference. A new report issued by the European Commission says that the number of deaths on Czech roads has decreased by a quarter in the last year. Dita Asiedu reports:

Photo: CTK
Amass 12 points and you lose your license. The new points system has made most drivers respect speed limits, brush up on their knowledge of traffic regulations, and even stop for pedestrians at zebra crossings. The result: the number of deaths this year is significantly lower than in 2005 - according to the European Commission the difference amounts to 25 percent. And, chances are that this year will see less than 1,000 deaths for the first time since 1989.

But figures from the last two months may be cause for concern. In both September and October, 95 people died on Czech roads, compared to 73 in July and 78 in August.

Photo: CTK
Czech Police spokesman Roman Skrepek says the motorists' fear of losing their license is slowly fading. Plans are underway to increase the number of traffic police officers on Czech roads.

The European Commission lists only two countries within the European Union - Latvia and Austria - with better statistics. Overall, the number of deaths on EU roads has decreased by eight percent. Within the next four years, Brussels hopes to introduce measures that will reduce the number of road deaths by half. This would save the lives of an estimated 25,000 people in the European Union.

Transport Ministry spokeswoman Marcela Zizkova is hopeful that the measures will bear fruit in the Czech Republic. She estimates that there will be not more than 650 deaths a year by 2010.