The goal is to eliminate fatal accidents completely
The theme of the conference was road safety and Ragnhildur Hjaltadóttir was the honorary guest. Sitting to her left, is Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the former president of Iceland. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon
Iceland is already among the best placed among the five European countries in road safety, but the aim is now to eliminate road traffic accidents completely. This was stated in the speech of Minister of Infrastructure Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson at the conference Going the right way that was held yesterday. The conference addressed transport safety and the changes that have taken place in the sector over the last decades.
Jóhannsson stated that although the number of fatal traffic accidents was very small compared to most other European countries, we should still try to do better.
"Because of that we can be proud, but that still doesn't mean we are perfectly satisfied," he said, adding that increased investment in improved road transport could be put on a so-called zero-emissions policy.
“I think we can use this day to declare that it is our next ambitious goal — that no one is set to get killed by transportation in Iceland,” he said.
Electric scooters pose a threat
The report of National Commissioner Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir stated that “In recent years, major progress has been made in relation to road safety, but also new challenges have arisen.” Regarding to challenges she mentioned the main use of the phone while driving and the electric scooter.
Speaking to mbl.is, Jóhannsson stated that work was underway to make electric scooters a safer mode of transportation. He referred to a bill currently before parliament, saying he hoped it would be addressed before the Icelandic parliament goes on summer vacation next week.
Concerning the bill, he stated: “We are proposing a few changes that will help us to develop stricter regulation. It is not unsimilar as we implemented at sea and had a lot of success with,” alluding to that serious accidents at sea have decreased dramatically in the last century as a result of improved education and increased training and demand for crews and fishermen.
He said that if the bill were approved, it would be possible to make more safety standards in connection with electric scooters, but today, the research is already working on improving safety with increased education about the scooters and the danger they pose.
Ragnhildur Hjaltadóttir, the former manager of the Ministry of Infrastructure. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon
In honor of Ragnhildur Hjaltadóttir
The conference was held in honor of Ragnhildur Hjaltadóttir for her extraordinary contribution to transportation safety, who recently retired as the manager of the Ministry of Infrastructure after a successful 40-year career for the governmental ministries. Asked what it was like to have a conference held in her honor, she said she was both moved and grateful, but it was still mainly the occasion of the conference that brought her joy.