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The Economist explains Why Sweden has so few road deaths



 
 
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  #1  
Old March 4th 14, 05:45 PM posted to rec.bicycles.misc,rec.bicycles.tech,rec.bicycles.rides
Garrison Hilliard
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Posts: 150
Default The Economist explains Why Sweden has so few road deaths

LAST year 264 people died in road crashes in Sweden, a record low.
Although the number of cars in circulation and the number of miles
driven have both doubled since 1970, the number of road deaths has
fallen by four-fifths during the same period. With only three of every
100,000 Swedes dying on the roads each year, compared with 5.5 per
100,000 across the European Union, 11.4 in America and 40 in the
Dominican Republic, which has the world's deadliest traffic, Sweden’s
roads have become the world’s safest. Other places such as New York
City are now trying to copy its success. How has Sweden done it?

Since reaching a peak in road deaths in the 1970s, rich countries have
become much better at reducing the number of traffic accidents. (Poor
countries, by contrast, have seen an increasing death toll, as car
sales have accelerated.) In 1997 the Swedish parliament wrote into law
a "Vision Zero" plan, promising to eliminate road fatalities and
injuries altogether. "We simply do not accept any deaths or injuries
on our roads," says Hans Berg of the national transport agency. Swedes
believe—and are now proving—that they can have mobility and safety at
the same time.

Planning has played the biggest part in reducing accidents. Roads in
Sweden are built with safety prioritised over speed or convenience.
Low urban speed-limits, pedestrian zones and barriers that separate
cars from bikes and oncoming traffic have helped. Building 1,500
kilometres (900 miles) of "2+1" roads—where each lane of traffic takes
turns to use a middle lane for overtaking—is reckoned to have saved
around 145 lives over the first decade of Vision Zero. And 12,600
safer crossings, including pedestrian bridges and zebra-stripes
flanked by flashing lights and protected with speed-bumps, are
estimated to have halved the number of pedestrian deaths over the past
five years. Strict policing has also helped: now less than 0.25% of
drivers tested are over the alcohol limit. Road deaths of children
under seven have plummeted—in 2012 only one was killed, compared with
58 in 1970.

Will the Swedes ever hit their "zero" target? Road-safety campaigners
are confident that it is possible. With deaths reduced by half since
2000, they are well on their way. The next step would be to reduce
human error even further, for instance through cars that warn against
drink-driving via built-in breathalysers. Faster implementation of new
safety systems, such as warning alerts for speeding or unbuckled
seatbelts, would also help. Eventually, cars may do away with drivers
altogether. This may not be as far off as it sounds: Volvo, a car
manufacturer, will run a pilot programme of driverless cars in
Gothenburg in 2017, in partnership with the transport ministry.
Without erratic drivers, cars may finally become the safest form of
transport.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/02/economist-explains-16?fsrc=nlw|newe|3-3-2014|7945932|38025957|

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  #2  
Old March 10th 14, 09:58 PM posted to rec.bicycles.misc
[email protected]
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Posts: 3,346
Default The Economist explains Why Sweden has so few road deaths

On Tuesday, March 4, 2014 8:45:56 AM UTC-8, Garrison Hilliard wrote:
LAST year 264 people died in road crashes in Sweden, a record low.

Although the number of cars in circulation and the number of miles
driven have both doubled since 1970, the number of road deaths has
fallen by four-fifths during the same period. With only three of every
100,000 Swedes dying on the roads each year, compared with 5.5 per
100,000 across the European Union, 11.4 in America and 40 in the
Dominican Republic, which has the world's deadliest traffic, Sweden’s
roads have become the world’s safest. Other places such as New York
City are now trying to copy its success. How has Sweden done it?

Since reaching a peak in road deaths in the 1970s, rich countries have
become much better at reducing the number of traffic accidents. (Poor
countries, by contrast, have seen an increasing death toll, as car
sales have accelerated.) In 1997 the Swedish parliament wrote into law
a "Vision Zero" plan, promising to eliminate road fatalities and
injuries altogether. "We simply do not accept any deaths or injuries
on our roads," says Hans Berg of the national transport agency. Swedes
believe—and are now proving—that they can have mobility and safety at
the same time.

Planning has played the biggest part in reducing accidents. Roads in
Sweden are built with safety prioritised over speed or convenience.
Low urban speed-limits, pedestrian zones and barriers that separate
cars from bikes and oncoming traffic have helped. Building 1,500
kilometres (900 miles) of "2+1" roads—where each lane of traffic takes
turns to use a middle lane for overtaking—is reckoned to have saved
around 145 lives over the first decade of Vision Zero. And 12,600
safer crossings, including pedestrian bridges and zebra-stripes
flanked by flashing lights and protected with speed-bumps, are
estimated to have halved the number of pedestrian deaths over the past
five years. Strict policing has also helped: now less than 0.25% of
drivers tested are over the alcohol limit. Road deaths of children
under seven have plummeted—in 2012 only one was killed, compared with
58 in 1970.

Will the Swedes ever hit their "zero" target? Road-safety campaigners
are confident that it is possible. With deaths reduced by half since
2000, they are well on their way. The next step would be to reduce
human error even further, for instance through cars that warn against
drink-driving via built-in breathalysers. Faster implementation of new
safety systems, such as warning alerts for speeding or unbuckled
seatbelts, would also help. Eventually, cars may do away with drivers
altogether. This may not be as far off as it sounds: Volvo, a car
manufacturer, will run a pilot programme of driverless cars in
Gothenburg in 2017, in partnership with the transport ministry.
Without erratic drivers, cars may finally become the safest form of
transport.


The problem is with speed. The more speed in and around cities the more fatalities you will have. Also the higher the speed limits the more likely it is for people to use autos for short trips rather than other means. I live a half mile from the supermarket and people that live a block away will drive over.

And the faster the autos are traveling on streets the more likely it is for people to use them for incidental purposes. Around here people are using SUV's to drive their children a couple of blocks to school because they feel the streets are too dangerous with speeding vehicles.

Locally a car pulling off of a lightly traveled 4 lane street into a housing area accelerated into a sharp right turn, went over a curb, through a woman's back fence into her backyard and just touched her house. He they spun around in the backyard lawn and made a getaway almost hitting another vehicle. With a good description of the vehicle, lots of damage to it and several eye witnesses the police were totally unable to locate the miscreant. Other traffic slowed at the location for a week and then started speeding around this corner again. People are buying old junk automobiles to park in front of their homes to protect them from people speeding.

And the band plays on.
 




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