The number of traffic accidents in the capital region has decreased by 34 percent between 2007 and 2009. During the first seven months in 2007, 343 traffic accidents were reported in Reykjavík and surrounding areas.
The traffic in Reykjavík. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
However, in the same period this year, that number dropped to 228, according to information from police authorities.
At the beginning of 2007, the Capital Region Police submitted a strategy on reducing traffic accidents, including more clear-cut measures than had been presented earlier, and cooperation with involved institutions and companies, Fréttabladid reports.
Emphasis was placed on reducing dangerous places and increasing visible supervision in addition to more detailed investigation of traffic accidents.
The Ministry of Transport contributed eight motorcycles for traffic supervision and the City of Reykjavík and the Public Roads Administration made changes to the roads system to increase safety. Police say such measures will continue.
However, in Fréttabladid on Monday, Borgarnes police authorities said they were concerned about the safety of motorists in light of an ISK 200 million (USD 1.6 million, EUR 1.1 million) cut to the Public Roads Administration.
The reason for their concern was the administration’s recent rejection of the police’s request to salt part of the road in Borgarfjördur because black ice had formed. Cars slid off the road but no one was harmed.
“The weather conditions have been peculiar lately and it is sometimes difficult to react,” said divisional manager of the Public Roads Administration in Borgernes, Magnús V. Jóhannsson. He explained that according to regulations, icing is prevented in some places and others are left out.
“But I can’t deny that money has been sparse lately and our service level won’t be increased in the near future unless the circumstances are special,” Jóhannsson said.
Björn Ólafsson, manager of the Public Roads Administration’s service division, said their cutback proposals are currently being reviewed at the Ministry of Transport. “They don’t assume a lower service level and we will defend traffic safety,” he promised. “That is the priority in our suggestions.”