Road System Not Ready for Increasing Traffic

Vala Hafstað

One of Iceland’s main traffic safety experts, Ólafur Kr. Guðmundsson, fears a major increase in the number of traffic accidents in Iceland this summer, mbl.is reports. He was interviewed by  the news program Dagmál.

He states it has long been known that the Icealandic road system is far from ready to meet expected increase in traffic, although certain things have been improved, including reducing the number of single-lane bridges. Unfortunately, he adds, the COVID-years were not used as they should have been to improve the road system.

He states that data for January-November, 2021, suggest last year was the second worst in a decade in terms of traffic accidents, despite the fact there were relatively few tourists in the country at the time. “There were fewer fatal accidents, but an increase in the number of serious injuries, as well as minor injuries,” he states.

Data for December are not in yet, but it looks like the number of fatalities plus seriously injured people in traffic accidents in 2021 exceeded 200. He points out that the number was much lower in 2019, although that year, tourism was booming.

Ólafur has done an assessment of the road system all over the country and everywhere, he states, the same problems exist: inadequate road surface markings, wear and tear, single-lane bridges, and signs blocking the view. He fears that as the number of tourists increases this summer, so will the number of serious traffic accidents.

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