NIK on road traffic safety

The level of safety on the Polish roads has increased in the past ten years. This is, undoubtedly, an outcome of a number of actions taken by state authorities, including in the first place the Police, local governments, scientific institutions, non-governmental organisations, media representatives as well as private persons. In the past 10 years the number of road casualties decreased by 41 percent and the number of people injured in road accidents went down by 31 percent. The downward trend has continued throughout the entire 10-year period, despite the constantly increasing number of cars on Polish roads.

However, Polish roads are still among the most dangerous ones in the European Union. Poland is in the penultimate place in Europe in terms of death rate per million inhabitants.

NIK states that efforts taken by the state in terms of safety on the Polish roads should be much more dynamic. According to the Supreme Audit Office the following steps should be taken:

1)      set up the Road Traffic Safety Management and Control System in the Polish law and make one body responsible for coordination of activities as part of that system.

The Road Traffic Safety Management and Control System would be a group of institutions and measures - established by legal means - to ensure road traffic safety and its continuous improvement.

According to NIK as part of the recommended system there should be one public body responsible for the coordination of all road traffic safety measures (at best the Minister of the Interior). At the same time, that body should be have relevant rights related to all entities performing specialist tasks as part of the system.

To make sure the system operates effectively the following steps should be taken:

2)      ensure stable financing of tasks in terms of road traffic safety

It would be desired to finance road safety initiatives based on Long-term Road Safety Programme with specific amounts to be spent in subsequent years.

NIK also proposes to

3)      carry out thorough reorganisation of structures responsible for the functioning of the road traffic supervision system.

Firstly, the Road Transport Inspectorate should be incorporated into the Police.

That change will have a positive impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of conducted activities, will make it possible to concentrate powers and measures, better plan initiatives taken and eliminate the doubling of tasks.

It will make more effective public spending, will enable assigning responsibility for the outcomes of one’s actions and will considerably strengthen (in terms of headcount and equipment) the Police Road Traffic Division.

Secondly, NIK suggests the following (as part of task reorganisation):

Limit rights of city and municipal guards in terms of speed control.

NIK proposes to keep city and municipal guards only the rights to control speed only by means of fixed speed cameras (in the places agreed with the Police), thus depriving the guards of the right to use mobile speed cameras.

NIK stands in a position that the following steps are also essential:

4)      a broader use of scientific research,

The Supreme Audit Office in its report also presents:  

5)      proposals of changes in effective provisions. The procedure of imposing speeding tickets needs changes in the first place.  

NIK states that a radical road safety increase is not possible without the following:

- continued construction of dual carriageway (motorways and express roads) and transfer of most out-of-the-city traffic to them - it will significantly reduce the most dangerous road accidents being the result of head-on and side collisions,

- widening single carriageways with roadside and safe overtaking lane,

- isolating lanes and traffic lights to safely turn left, without simultaneous traffic in the opposite direction,

- solutions for pedestrians: pavements, catwalks, underground passages, squares and pedestrian streets closed for traffic, traffic lights at pedestrian crossings in high-traffic places,

- solutions for cyclists, i.e. among others separated bicycle roads,

- development and promotion of city transport,

- and finally, promoting proper behaviours of road traffic participants, teaching mutual respect to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists or awareness of consequences of breaching traffic rules.

 

 

Article informations

Date of creation:
05 November 2014 13:19
Date of publication:
05 November 2014 13:19
Published by:
Marta Połczyńska
Date of last change:
28 November 2014 09:32
Last modified by:
Marta Połczyńska
NIK on road traffic safety © Fotolia/ITD

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