With regards to the number of tragedies on the Serbian roads, when 19 people lost their lives in only 72 hours, the Traffic Safety Committee has invited President Tomislav Nikolic to address the nation and point to the importance of traffic safety. Director of that committee Damir Okanovic says for our radio that July and August have been for years the months when most people are tragically killed on the Serbian roads, and it will be the same until the state takes some serious measures. The report of Mirjana Nikolic.
Over the past five years almost 5,000 people have died on the roads in Serbia, while more than 100 thousand have been injured. Only last year, 728 people got killed in the traffic, and yet, the high political bodies refuse to deal with the safety on the roads, says Okanovic. Therefore, the committee expects the Serbian President to show by example the determination of the state to stop the bloodshed in the streets, and hopefully his example will be followed by ministers, municipal presidents and other citizens.
Okanovic explains that the new law on traffic safety on its own did not yield spectacular results, but it was the effect of the media campaign related to its passing. As soon as the media pressure stops, the drivers become careless and then the tragic accidents take place, like it was the case in the past few days. The experts know exactly if the accidents are happening because of the speeding, alcohol or driver’s inexperience, so it can be avoided.
Although in the last two years there has been a lot of talk about repeated driving license tests for the drivers who make traffic violations and do not understand the importance of education, that system of sanctioning has only come into power one month ago. “The point is not to threaten people with sanctions, thus forcing them to follow the regulations. We do not need a driver who fears penalties, but rather the one who will fear the consequences of reckless behavior. The average citizen must see what are the results of speeding or not having a seat belt on, because our people tend to underrate such violations”, says the Director of the Traffic Safety Committee.
Asked what can the state do before the start of Exit and Guca festivals, in order to prevent tragic consequences, Okanovic says that the organization of those festivals shows how Serbia can be effective in view of traffic safety. The police have functioning plans and as the result, last year there was zero accidents with lethal outcome in Guca. The key question now is the presence of the political will to solve the problems of the traffic safety, and everything else stems from that, says Okanovic.
However, Director of the Agency for Traffic Safety Stojadin Jovanovic believes the things are not so gloomy. He points that in the first half of this year the number of traffic accidents has been notably decreased, there are 34 less casualties, and 820 less injured people. In the first year since the implementation of the new law on traffic safety, i.e. in 2010, the number of casualties has been decreased for 140 people, but then in the next year it was a bit higher, explains Jovanovic. He has called upon the drivers to observe the rules and regulations and rest more often, because high temperatures are expected in the forthcoming days as well.