NEWS IN SHORT

Death toll on Slovak roads falls

AFTER a catastrophic year in 2007 the situation on Slovak roads has started - gradually – to improve. The number of victims of car accidents decreased significantly in the first quarter of 2008 compared with the same period of the previous year, the Hospodárske Noviny financial daily reported. During the January-March period of 2007 car accidents took 118 lives, down 30. The number of seriously injured and the number of car accidents overall also fell.

AFTER a catastrophic year in 2007 the situation on Slovak roads has started - gradually – to improve. The number of victims of car accidents decreased significantly in the first quarter of 2008 compared with the same period of the previous year, the Hospodárske Noviny financial daily reported. During the January-March period of 2007 car accidents took 118 lives, down 30. The number of seriously injured and the number of car accidents overall also fell.

“[In the] last week [of March] we even had six days without a fatal car accident,” Viktor Plézel, from the police presidium, told the daily. The number of accidents decreased by more than 100 and the number of seriously injured people fell by over 50.

“Better discipline by drivers may be behind this development,” said Plézel. But he urged pedestrians and cyclists in particular to be more careful.

Juraj Smrečan, the head of the Slovak Central Auto Club, welcomed the positive trend, but according to him it might not be continued since nothing radical has been done so far to improve roads safety.

The Bratislava Region reported the biggest improvement in road safety. The number of accidents decreased by over 250 and the number of fatalities fell by 10. Alena Toševová, spokesperson for the Bratislava police, ascribes this positive development to greater discipline on the part of drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, and the opening of the Sitina tunnel - as well as police actions.

However, Bratislava faces a few critical days ahead as traffic routes change. The Sitina tunnel will be closed for a regular check between April 3 and 14. Moreover, the busy Prístavný Most, one of the bridges over the Danube River, will be closed between April 13 and May 10. Even the National Highway Company doesn’t know how this will affect traffic. The police also expect construction of an additional lane on the Bratislava-Trnava highway to result in traffic jams in the capital.

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