Five fatal accidents in eleven days

“We have never seen it worse in the last decades,” …

“We have never seen it worse in the last decades,” says Þórhildur Einarsdóttir, information officer of the Icelandic Transport Authority. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

Five people died in traffic in the first sixteen days of the year. Never before have more people died in car accidents in the first days of the year, but the Icelandic Transportation Authority’s list of fatal accidents dates back to 1973.

One person died in a traffic accident on Vesturlandsvegur road on Tuesday. Two people died in an accident on Route 1, near to Skaftafell, on January 12 and two in an accident on Grindavíkurvegur road on January 5. All the accidents have therefore occurred outside of urban areas.

“We have never seen it worse in the last decades,” says Þórhildur Einarsdóttir, information officer of the Icelandic Transport Authority. You have to go back to 1977 to see a situation like the one we are seeing now. That year, four people died in one accident on  January 3, and a fifth person died on  January 18.

Fatal accidents overall have reduced

The police departments in each district are responsible for investigating the accidents and the draft of their investigation is not yet available. Road conditions have been different but in recent days there have been very slippery roads without visible snow.

The number of fatal traffic accidents has decreased significantly in the last decades, and many factors explain this positive decrease, according to both Einarsdóttir and Gudbrandur Sigurðsson, assistant-director of the traffic department of the Icelandic Police in the capital area.

Since the turn of the century, 386 people have died in 338 traffic accidents, the majority of them in 2000, when 32 people died in 23 accidents. Over the last five years, 8-9 people have died in traffic accidents every year, and the number of accidents has decreased significantly compared to  the years before that.

The funded road safety programme was for the first time part of a four-year transportation programme. “It has had a positive impact on the fatalities,” says Einarsdóttir. Before the funded road safety programmes were created, 23-34 people died in traffic every year, but that number decreased 50%  in the following years.

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