A new act compiled by the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Interior that took effect on April 1 has upped the speed limit on Slovak roadways and banned the use of most mobile phones while driving. The act increases the maximum speed limit from 50 to 60 kilometers/hour in cities and from 110 to 130 kilometers/hour on highways. The speed limit change sparked contentious discussion among those working on the plan, with Interior Minister Gustav Krajci reportedly strongly against the change.
The mayor of one town lying on a highway also is opposed to the speed hikes. "I don't think that it will be good," said Jan Olajec, mayor of Hlinik nad Hronom. "Drivers have never kept the speed limit, and now instead of lowering it, it has been raised. It will be very dangerous."
But at least one parliamentarian from the leading coalition party doesn't think speed is the issue. "The reason why accidents happen is not because of the speed limit," said Milan Secansky, a member of the parliament for the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS). "It's because drivers do not pay attention to driving."
The police, on the other hand, are not worried about an increase in the number of accidents. "I think that drivers will be driving carefully, and generally I do not think that it will raise the number of accidents," said one officer who asked not to be named. "If you think about it, drivers were breaking the speed limit anyway. They think that driving only 50 kilometer/hour in a good car is slow. Now they have what they want."
The act also restricts using mobile phones while driving. Drivers can only use mobile phone that have an external microphone, meaning that hand-held mobile phones are illegal to use while driving.
The new law deals with car accidents too. People involved in wrecks no longer are required to notify the police of an accident unless someone is injured, and the damage does not exceed the figure 27,000 Sk ten-fold.
Since April 1, there are new license plates being issued. The new license plate has a two letter combination that stands for the specific region and a combination of five symbols, which can either be letters or numbers. The switch from an old of license plate to a new one costs 200 Sk .
10. Apr 1997 at 0:00 | Andrea Lorinczová