Poland to reduce 1000s of traffic deaths

Poland government ministers present a road safety program on January 9, 2012.

Poland intends to reduce thousands of traffic-related deaths through a program that aims to improve road safety in one of Europe’s most dangerous countries to drive.

On Wednesday, Interior Minister Jacek Cichocki said Poland had almost 4,200 deaths from traffic accidents in 2011 — the highest in Europe according to road safety statistics.

Since the introduction of speed cameras last year, Poland has seen a 15 percent drop in road mortalities, a government report said.

Transport Minister Slawomir Nowak said the amount of deaths was “shocking” and “brutal,” and backed Cichocki with a program to increase penalties for speeding, upgrade roads and increase the amount of speed cameras.

Poland has increased the number of connecting roads and “we need to take care of safety,” Nowak added.

Currently regulations in Poland are not up to the standards of the European Union (EU) and the country has a road death rate twice as high as the EU average, according to reports.

The government aims to reduce the nearly 37,000 reported accidents, costing the country USD 6.5 billion in 2012, with an investment of USD 160 million this year for improved law enforcement on the road.

Nowak said the plan aims to complete 800 kilometers of new expressways and highways by 2015, as well as improve some 6,000 kilometers of local roads.

The plans to expand the roads will accommodate for Poland’s increasing traffic, where almost 50 percent of the population owns a car. However, many road users have complained about the increasing travel restrictions in the country.

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