A grim weekend on the roads

Publication date 29.11.2022 13.01 | Published in English on 2.12.2022 at 15.45
News item

Four unfortunate traffic accidents took place last weekend, causing the deaths of six people. Six people losing their lives during a single weekend is a lot. Based on preliminary data, it appears that the main causes of the accidents and the accident types do not significantly differ from what the Finnish Crash Data Institute’s (OTI) reports tell us (annual report 2020).

According to the OTI’s data, the most common accident types have included head-on and run-off-road collisions. In 2020, they accounted for 72% of all accidents. During the last 20 years, they have been the most common accident types in fatal accidents. The weekend’s accidents included a rear-end, head-on and run-off-road collisions, unfortunately resulting in the deaths of six people.

In 2001–2020, an average of a quarter of drivers causing an accident (27%) were under the influence of alcohol, and 41% were speeding. According to preliminary data, risk factors were present in some of the weekend’s accidents. In the OTI’s data, 21% of drivers causing an accident were both under the influence of alcohol and speeding in 2020.

Finland committed to halving road accident fatalities and injuries by 2030

The 2022–2026 traffic safety strategy of the Ministry of Transport and Communications states that road traffic involves the most significant challenges in traffic safety. It is the most unsafe form of transport for various underlying reasons. Too often, fatal accidents involve significant risk-taking which, according to preliminary data, can also be seen in the majority of the weekend’s accidents. Through the 2017 Valletta Declaration on Improving Road Safety, Finland is committed to halving the number of road accidents leading to death or serious injuries from the 2020 level by 2030 with the other EU Member States. 2030 is fast approaching! A total of 223 people died in road accidents in 2020, while the corresponding figure last year was 225. Between January and October 2022, 156 people died in road accidents.

Improving the transport infrastructure and developing police surveillance are key measures in advancing traffic safety. The strategy says that traffic safety is also a broad societal phenomenon, and close links between different programmes are needed to improve it. The Police of Finland carries out traffic surveillance within the scope of the resources given to it. Sufficient traffic surveillance can increase the risk of getting caught, which affects people’s rational decision making. Traffic surveillance is a significant measure for uncovering traffic crime. In other words, a driver who is speeding or intoxicated will be caught and face consequences. The Police of Finland must therefore be given sufficient resources to carry out credible traffic surveillance.

Traffic safety spans the whole society

The forms of high-risk behaviour in traffic are quite well recognised in our society. It is important to tackle the root causes of high-risk behaviour. As already stated, the Police of Finland carries out traffic surveillance within the scope of the resources given to it, but its surveillance does not affect the root causes, including the risk people are willing to take regarding the possible consequences of speeding or substance abuse. As a result, traffic safety must span the whole society and be an integral and cross-cutting theme in society at large, as is also stated in the 2022–2026 traffic safety strategy. This way, we may have fewer grim weekends.



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