- The fact that 2017 shows a considerable reduction in the total number of casualties is positive, but we are far from reaching our goal. Even if the cars are safer and the roads are better, we are seeing new challenges. We have more people on the roads that has a high risk of being involved in accidents. There are more pedestrians and cyclists as well as a higher number of elderly people on the roads, both as drivers and pedestrians, says Jan Johansen, director of the Norwegian organisation “Safe Traffic”.
Speeding, driving under influence of alcohol or other stimulants, not using the seatbelt and unattentiveness are the most common reasons for the deadliest traffic accidents.
If we are to reach the national goals, we have to take even stronger measures in use. The National Plan for Transport has zero traffic related deaths as its final goal, and no more than 350 casualties and severe injuries by 2029 as an intermediate goal.
Young drivers are the best
By the end of 2017, 13 persons in the age of 16-24 had died in traffic accidents. This is almost half of what the number was in 2016, when 24 in the same age group lost their life and 128 were severely injured. Jan Johansen highlights that it is very positive to see fewer young people as part of the accident statistics.
- Young drivers have earlier been associated with risky traffic behaviour. Now it looks like this is about to change. Fewer young people are speeding, driving under influence of alcohol or other substances, and more of them are using their seatbelt. The young generation is actually making smarter traffic choices than before. In addition, the training in driving schools has improved a lot, and is likely to be the best in the world, continues Jan Johansen.
Highest number of casualties amongst those aged 40+
The organisation is worried about the growth in number of accidents amongst those aged 40+. Men aged 45 and above are overrepresented in the accident statistics.
- Men in this age group are often driving longer distances, and this is probably contributing to the statistics. Some of them have probably brought with them a way of driving from the 1980’s, which includes speeding and taking risks in traffic, says Johansen.
High unrecorded numbers amongst pedestrians and cyclists
Out of the casualties in 2017, 11 were pedestrians and nine were cyclists. However, the official statistics of casualties and severely injured shows only a part of the picture. The authorities estimate that only two out of three traffic accidents leading to injuries are reported as traffic accidents. The underreporting is the biggest when it comes to cycle accidents. Only one of 13 cycle accidents are reported.
- The authorities see a need for new guidelines for registering of traffic accidents. It is important to fast-track this process so that we get the full picture of accidents amongst pedestrians and cyclists, says Johansen.