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Thursday, February 2, 2023

The number of children killed in road traffic has doubled

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Only in 2020 and 2021, 344 and 362 fewer people died on the road, respectively, according to a broadcast on Sunday. That is the third lowest figure since records began in 1950. However, the number of children under the age of 14 who died at 14 was more than twice as high as in 2021, when there were six.

13 children aged up to 14 died in road traffic in 2022, six of them as car occupants, four as pedestrians, one as the driver of an e-scooter, one as a moped driver and one as a cyclist. In 2021, six and in 2020 two children died in an accident. A child between the ages of six and 15 died in a school accident in 2022.

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“Sad and an order to politicians to quickly implement increased traffic safety measures,” said VCÖ spokesman Christian Gratzer in this context. Once again, the number of road deaths was higher than the national road safety program target for 2020 of fewer than 312 fatalities. The number of pedestrians also rose from four in 2021 to 14 in the previous year, while in traffic accidents involving wrong-way drivers no road user died in 2022, but three in 2021.

The two “corona years” 2020 and 2021 showed the lowest balance, compared to the negative record from 1972, in which 2,948 deaths were recorded according to accident statistics, the current number fell to around one eighth of the number at that time. According to the BMI, this overall positive trend is due to measures such as road safety education, road safety advice and monitoring, the number of registered vehicles has almost tripled from 2.5 million to 7.3 million in the same period.

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Interior Minister Gerhard Karner (ÖVP) recalled a new “Raserpaket” with regard to road safety measures, which is currently being discussed in the National Council and which is “an important step in decisive action against the roadrunner scene”. “In the coming year we will also focus on safety for cyclists and pedestrians. Bicycle traffic in particular has increased significantly in recent years and therefore requires special attention,” Karner was further quoted as saying.

80 victims in Upper Austria

At the federal state level, there are major differences in the development compared to the victim balance from the previous year, because while in 2022 the 19 road deaths in Burgenland more than doubled compared to the previous year, when there were eight, the number in Carinthia almost halved and fell from 38 to 21. Decreases were also recorded in Upper Austria (80 compared to 92 in 2021) and Salzburg (19/24). In 2022, Salzburg, together with Carinthia (21/38), also recorded the lowest number of road deaths in 60 years. In addition to the increase in fatal accidents in Burgenland, Lower Austria (97/92), Styria (70/50), Vorarlberg (16/13) and Vienna (18/16) also had a negative balance compared to the previous year, the number remained unchanged near Tyrol (29/29).

Of the 369 fatal road accidents, 179 involved car occupants, 55 motorcyclists, 49 pedestrians, 40 cyclists (50 percent with electric bicycles), 21 truck occupants (18 of them in small trucks), and eight moped drivers. There were increases in killed car and truck occupants and pedestrians.

When it comes to the suspected main causes of fatal traffic accidents, carelessness or distraction (25.6 percent), inappropriate driving speed (22.7 percent) and violation of priority (19.8 percent) continued to make up the majority. The majority of fatal accidents occur on former federal roads (130 fatalities), state roads (114) and other roads (91); the 34 fatalities on motorways and expressways account for 9.2 percent of all traffic fatalities.

More than a third of all traffic fatalities (152 or 41.2 percent) were 60 years or older at the time of the accident, 52 of them (14.1 percent of all fatalities) were even older than 80 years. In the 17 to 29 age group, there were 62 people (16.8 percent of all traffic deaths), and around every fourth fatal traffic accident (83 or 24.1 percent) was caused by foreign nationals.

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